GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – The Grand Prairie Police Department is now the first municipal lock up facility in Texas to offer inmates virtual visitation.

The facility launched Securus Technologies Video Visitation TM which provides communication with less boundaries. For the first time ever, minors will have the ability to visit their parents.

“Our detention staff interacts with inmates on a daily basis and sees hope in a lot of these people. The detention officers work tirelessly to create good relationships with prisoners to help them lead a better life outside of incarceration. This type of technology that Securus offers is in line with the direction we are already going,” said Police Chief Steve Dye.

Detention Manager Kristin Swanson said the facility will continue to offer in-person visits on Sundays from 2 – 4 p.m., but minors remain prohibited. “Children miss their parents, talking to them before bedtime, talking to them before or after school. That is also important to prisoners,” Swanson said.

Before a remote visit is scheduled, users must first electronically submit their profile for approval by facility administration. Visits can be live-monitored by officers. “Video visitation is a privilege that we hope the prisoners find valuable,” added Swanson.

While there is no internet access for the offender, Securus Technologies Video Visitation TM is a web-based communication system that allows family, friends, attorneys and public officials to schedule and participate in video visitation sessions with the prisoner. The system is available from any smartphone, tablet or PC connected to the Internet. This technology is paid for by the offenders’ family and friends with no cost to the taxpayers.

“Video visitation will help them feel less cut off and isolated. Through remote visits, they will feel more connected to their families’ lives. Prisoners will want to take advantage of that,” Swanson said.

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