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Dakota County Jail Tests Video Visitation | News

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Dakota County Jail Tests Video Visitation
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New technology is helping Minnesota families get through hard times together, even when one person is behind bars.

The Dakota County Jail is using a secure video visiting system to let inmates communicate with loved ones. This is the first pilot program of its kind in Minnesota. It began in January. If it is successful, it could become permanent this spring.

County officials say the benefit is twofold. First, the program raises money for the county. The video calls cost $0.35 per minute and are limited to 15 minutes per hour.

Second, it saves families the trip to jail. The commute can often be long, as more than half of the inmates are from outside Dakota County, an area in which public transportation is limited.

Sheriff Dave Bellows also adds "it's less traumatic for the child to be at home, I think, to be at home, be able to be in front of a computer screen to see their parent on the computer screen versus coming here to a jail facility." 

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