Inmate Phone System: Technology Pushes Ahead

The Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office has unveiled its new inmate phone system, known as DSI ITI on line, meaning less paperwork and more efficient technology for the VBSO and additional convenience for family and friends of inmates.

Inmates will now have three options for making phone calls from the jail. They can still make the standard collect calls, they can use their canteen accounts to debit the calls or family or friends of incarcerated inmates may prepay the inmate’s phone service with credit cards.

eZ Deposit kiosks, are stationed in the jail’s “C” building lobby, in the magistrate’s lobby and inside Property.  Relatives and friends may use the kiosks to make deposits to the inmate’s canteen account which can be used for both phone and canteen purposes.  Inmates who have money on their person when admitted to jail have their money automatically deposited to the eZ Deposit system. The service eliminates the need for family members and friends to mail money orders to the jail and wait for the money to post to the inmate’s account.

Inmates may also use the system to place orders for the canteen as well as to check the balance on their canteen accounts.  They’ll simply pick up the phone in their cell block and punch in a 5 digit, personally issued number,  to place their orders or to retrieve account balance information.  Tim Baker of the VBSO’s Information Technology division says,  “there will be no more bubble food order sheets for inmates to fill out, eliminating the need for deputies to come around and collect them once a week.”   Canteen orders will be taken at a predetermined time, based on an inmate’s location in block housing.

With the convenience comes a money management service fee.   Cash and credit card deposits will cost the inmate a predetermined amount of money and the fee is based on the amount of the deposit.

The fee is automatically deducted from the deposit total.

Eventually, Baker says persons outside the jail will also be able to make on-line deposits to an inmate’s account.

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Tim Baker, a member of the VBSO’s Information Technology division, stands in front of an eZ Deposit kiosk, one of three stationed throughout the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office.

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