I went to visit a friend of mine on Tuesday, Nov. 24, in the Thurston County jail. He had been incarcerated the day before. I assumed I would be able to see him. The visiting procedure at the jail was cumbersome, lengthy, and ultimately, unsuccessful. These are the steps necessary for a 30-minute computer screen visit.
In person visits are prohibited. First, create an account requiring my name, address, photo ID, email and partial social security number. Second, request a 30-minute video session with the inmate. Wait and see if the person accepts the session. This failed both times for me. Once at 10 a.m., and again at 10:30 a.m. The attendant said that the inmate is not always aware of these requests and must stay constantly vigilant, scanning the electronic board for their name. If you are on the premises, there is no cost for these sessions. If you attempt to do this from an outside computer, you must pay $7.50 for each visit. This applies to emails as well.
This process makes visitation much harder than it needs to be and discourages any contact with the outside world for the prisoner. Many people do not have the technology/means/
transportation, to visit their loved ones.
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If the goal is to rehabilitate the inmate and provide them with strong, positive ties when they are released, this process is sorely lacking. I would love to see it made simpler and cost free.