Commissioners OK inmate communications system

Robert Smith rsmith@pawhuskajournalcapital.com

Osage County commissioners Monday gave their official blessing to a new jail communication system that will offer inmates much more long-distance contact with relatives.

Sheriff Eddie Virden and sales representative Stewart Mayfield, who represents CTC Communication Services, described the system, which will feature video-link communication. It is expected to allow families of inmates to talk with them from home, rather than spending money on fuel and other supplies to make a trip to the Osage County Jail.

CTC has agreed to install the system in Osage County free of charge, and recoup its cost over time based on inmate payments for electronic communication. Virden said the free installation represents a savings to the county of some $85,000.

“This is going to be a really good deal for the Sheriff’s Department,” he said.

District Attorney Rex Duncan told the commissioners that anything county government can do to reduce the number of in-person visits to the jail will be a good thing. Duncan told the commissioners about a case he was handling that involved the smuggling of contraband into the Dick Conner Correctional Center at Hominy.

The case involved the smuggling of some 20 phones, 18 chargers and 19 bags of marijuana into the correctional center, Duncan said.