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Visitation at Justice Center temporarily suspended

Monday, April 7, 2008

Inmate visitation at the Clay County Justice Center has been temporarily canceled due to some unwanted behavior.

People using the video visitation room have peeled number signs off video monitors, peeled letters off newly installed door signs, loosened phone receivers from monitors and dirtied walls to a point that hand cleaning will not remove the dirt from the walls, which now need to be repainted.

Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton is frustrated that repairs have to be made to the two-year-old facility because of disrespectful use.

"The public viewing room is in worse condition than the area for the inmates," Heaton said. "We are making repairs to that area too, but that is because of normal wear and tear, not negligence. The inmates understand that these monitors are their lines of communication with the outside world, their lifelines to their family. They respect that."

A new sign posting the rules of acceptable behavior in the visitation room has also been damaged.

"We had it made to help eliminate any confusion in case someone didn't read the paper outlining the rules when they signed in. It's a brand new sign, but the edges have been peeled away," Heaton said. "There isn't a rule (on that sign) that hasn't been violated at some point."

Heaton said people should understand that rules are in place to protect the safety of the public, the inmates and their family members and the staff at the justice center.

An unexpected benefit of doing the repairs now, according to Heaton, is a few bugs in the video monitoring system will be repaired, allowing for better communication between the inmates and their family.

"Visitation is important for inmates and their families," Heaton said. "Inmates need to be able to see the faces of their children and their family members, but rules are important and have to be obeyed. It is a shame that the public has to pay the price to fix the negligence of others."

Although inmates were instructed to notify their families about the temporary closing before Saturday, some inmates' family members voiced concern over the weekend about the closure.

"There have been a few calls, but dispatchers have explained the situation," Heaton said. "We expect the repairs and the equipment testing to be done before inmate visitation on Saturday, but we are hopeful they will be done by Thursday."

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So what was the paid person who supervises video visitation doing ?

-- Posted by Sidney on Tue, Apr 8, 2008, at 10:34 AM

Does it really matter what the paid person was doing? I mean these are grown individuals should they not know better. That is what is wrong with society today we try to point the blame on someone else. It is no one's fault but the inmates. There are rules in jail just like the real world and there are consequences for their actions.

-- Posted by beautiful978 on Tue, Apr 8, 2008, at 10:57 AM

Our Sheriff is great and people who visit are being privileged and shouldn't have to be monitored like the inmates. Visitation is a privilege not a right. That being said, it can be revoked. By all means this is a good reason to have visitation revoked, so taxpayers won't be given the bill to repair it again.

-- Posted by BrazilScholarly on Tue, Apr 8, 2008, at 3:35 PM


Yes it does matter what the person was doing, if not,then why have one being paid with tax dollars also. Wasn't all the added employees the new Jail required enough. Was that what the person is there for ? You apparently did not read the article, this was not the inmates it was the visitors that caused the damage .

Yes the one to blame is the visitors who did not follow the rules.

-- Posted by Sidney on Tue, Apr 8, 2008, at 8:43 PM

The people who monitor the visits are tasked with other duties than just watching people in the visitation room. There are times when there are no visitors and times when there are dozens; if they didn't have these additional duties I'm sure people would complain that they are sitting around doing nothing when nobody was there to visit. Also, monitoring visits doesn't mean just sitting there watching people in the visitor room. They have to keep track of what is going on between the visitor and the inmate by checking the computer monitors as the visit is going on, they must register the visitors and check to ensure that the inmate they are requesting to visit is eligible for a visit, they have to contact the Jail to alert the prisoner that they have a visit, and the list goes on from there. It would be nice if they could hire somebody to just sit there and stare at the people in the visitation room, but that is not possible. I hope some of the vandals who are doing this damage and costing us tax payers our hard earned dollars get caught and put where they belong.

-- Posted by sceptic on Tue, Apr 8, 2008, at 10:12 PM

Maybe they should suspend visitation completely. It is the tax payers that will have to foot the bill for this also along with taking care of them while they are in there. It is a privilege to get to go visit but if the familiy can't handle it than take it away also. If the people behind bars hadn't done something they shouldn't have been doing then they could visit with their family at home.

-- Posted by kibbemi on Wed, Apr 9, 2008, at 9:58 AM


If it was the visitors and not the inmates then my comment still applies. The paid person is there to make sure that the inmates behave they are paid to watch them not the Visitors. The Visitors should know better than to do that. So my comment still applies to this even though you don't think that it does. The paid person was doing what they were paid to do and that is watch the INMATES.

-- Posted by beautiful978 on Thu, Apr 10, 2008, at 7:45 AM

Maybe we have the wrong people behind bars?

-- Posted by RalphQ on Tue, Apr 15, 2008, at 2:54 AM

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