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Jail offers inmate management upgrades through technology
by Liz Marino
November 07, 2012 04:38 PM | 2819 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Chief Deputy Stan Copeland shows the soon-to-be furnished crime lab inside the new law enforcement and jail facility.
Chief Deputy Stan Copeland shows the soon-to-be furnished crime lab inside the new law enforcement and jail facility.
Over the last 10 years, inmate detention has become increasingly high tech, which is reflected in the new Douglas County jail’s features.

A bank of phones line the walls of each cell block, where inmates can call family through collect calls. A kiosk is in place if the inmate wishes to make a purchase from the commissary, or needs to make a medical call.

This is controlled by a Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) bracelet which contains a chip for each individual inmate and controls their usage, said Chief Deputy Stan Copeland of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

“It helps prevent inmates stealing codes from each other,” Copeland said.

Gone are the days when inmates and visitors spoke face to face between glass partitions.

Visitation is now done from the inmate’s cell block while the visitors sit at stations housed in the adjoining bonding and visitation center.

This keeps contraband from being exchanged, explained Copeland.

Scheduling an inmate visit may be done online or at the visitation center. Thumbprint verification is required. A waiting room with an electronic indicator shows when the visit may begin and at what station.

The booking area contains a waiting room as well, where about 90 percent of inmates will wait. However, there are individual holding cells for the “10 percent who come in drunk or angry and can’t behave themselves,” Copeland said.

The booking area is where potential guests are fingerprinted and photographed and contains a full triage unit for nurse assessment.

The jail houses a full floor for medical and mental health inmate patients and kitchen and laundry receiving.

Altogether, the Douglas County Adult Detention and Law Enforcement Center totals 500,000 square feet, Copeland said.

State funding cuts have resulted in crime lab services, according to Copeland, which necessitated an in-house forensics lab.

The county has several trained members of the sheriff’s department who can do much of the crime investigation work onsight, he said.

“We can do any of the forensics gathering and there is very little we can’t do in lifting evidence.”

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