Telmate: a video-chat system is becoming more common for prisons and jails across the country and here in southeastern Idaho.

Convenience. It’s become the back bone of our fast-paced high tech world, and now, you can even find it in prisons and jails.

It’s called Telmate.

However, unlike Skype, FaceTime or any other video chatting service it’s specific to communication for inmates.

“It’s less staff, jail-staff intensive. Before, when we were doing face-to-face visits, we had to escort inmates down to the visiting area,” said Brian Covert, jail lieutenant of the Bonneville County Sheriff’s office.

The old system also didn’t allow much time for visitation either.

“Before, we’d have a block of time for a housing area, and it may or may not work for the family and friends. This system, it opens up a lot of different visiting times so they can visit in the morning or evening,” said Covert.

Here’s how it works: visitors go to the jail to get verified through the system. With a photo ID and entering some general info, they’re good to go.

Visitors can then access the system from their home or by coming to the jail.

Telmate also allows people to leave voicemails, text messages, and send photos to inmates as well.

Bonneville County isn’t the first jail to adopt a system like this. They were one of the last ones in the area to do so.

Bingham and Bannock counties both use similar programs.

Read the full article here.