The Washington County Commissioners have approved a services agreement that will bring improvements to the Washington County Detention Center.

A correctional communications services agreement by and between City Tele-Coin Company and the Washington County Sheriff's Office for the 2020-2021 Fiscal Year was approved on Monday. Sheriff Scott Owen said the agreement calls for the replacement and upgrade of the Detention Center's inmate phone systems.

Inmates will see a set of jail rules every time they log into the kiosk for a call. Sheriff Owen said the inmates will also have access to a law library, which eliminates the need to transport inmates to the Washington County Courthouse. He said grievances, medical complaints, and jail complaints will be filed electronically, and multiple eyes will look over those items to check for issues that may arise so they can eliminate them before they become a litigation problem. This can prevent deliberate indifference because middle and upper administration can get a better view as to what is being reported as well.

At no cost to Washington County, a website will be created for the Detention Center that the public can access. This will provide a booking report for the public to look into that will be updated almost hourly.

Currently, visitation at the Washington County Detention Center is only held two days a week. Sheriff Owen said they can possibly hold visitation from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. every day thanks to the agreement with City Tele-Coin Company. He said there will even be a phone application that families can download to talk to a loved one that may be in jail.

These services are anticipated to greatly improve and enhance income revenue. CTC Representative Stuart Mayfield added that they will have a mail checking system that will tell inmates that they have mail that has come into the jail when they log into the kiosk. He said the mail will be scanned into the system before it is held in a property bag. This is to prevent the possibility of drugs coming into the detention center.

The Osage County Jail has a similar system in place. You can find that website here.

Mayfield said the Washington County Sheriff's Office became the 26th video customer of City Tele-Coin Company in Oklahoma. He said the longest delay is getting a fiber quality circuit from a local provider like AT&T or Sparklight.

CTC will record the videos and phone calls through the life of the contract with the Washington County Sheriff's Office. Neither the County nor the Sheriff's Office will bear no costs. The agreement has an option for the Washington County Sheriff's Office to opt-out should there be any problems.

This story by Garrett Giles originally appeared on Bartlesville Radio on June 30, 2020