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Mother frustrated over Randolph County jail visitation

Family members wanting to see a relative in Randolph County jail would sit down, pick up a phone and their loved ones would pop up on the screen in front of them, but now that can’t happen — the system broke last May.

“I’m angry, I’m confused why this wasn’t projected to be fixed a long time ago if the equipment that’s old,” said Julie Morgan.

Randolph County Sheriff Mark Nichols said the video visitation system is around 12 years old. So antiquated, there are no replacement parts to fix it, leaving family members of inmates, like Julie, frustrated and unsure of the next time she’ll see hers son’s face.

“We’re going in to the holidays, which is a really sensitive time for people, and that’s critical. Being incarcerated, it’s proven there’s a lot of psychological issues and then you can’t see your family over the holidays — that’s hard,” said Morgan.

Nichols said a new system would cost around $85,000. Nichols said it’s not in the current budget, but could be included in the budget for the addition to the Randolph County Justice Center.

‘We’re trying to wrap up everything together and get an entirely new security system for both buildings, which would include the video visitation,” said Nichols.

There’s not a definite date on when the old system will be replaced. Nichols said it could happen shortly after the new year, but Julie said the inmates shouldn’t have to wait that long.

“Beyond what these people have done, they’re human beings first. They might have committed crimes or whatever, but they’re human beings first,” said Morgan.

Nichols said inmates can’t have face-to-face visits with family members. He said the current jail was not designed for contact visits, and for safety reasons, they can’t allow it.

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