The Knox County Detention Facility holds more than 1,000 inmates. The average stay for most is 12 to 14 days. Those couple of weeks of hard time behind bars are now high-tech.
Gone are the old
Hollywood images of the county jail that serves bread and water while
only allowing inmates to make one phone call. The Knox County jail on
Maloneyville Road features electronic touch-screen kiosks where inmates
can video conference with family, order food, schedule haircuts,
electronically manage their money, and handle medical services.
While buying snacks, having visitors, and receiving medicine is
nothing new to jails, the high-tech methods of delivering these services
are modern. The electronics are designed to reduce paperwork, keep
better track of prisoners, and maintain up-to-date records.
has really brought the sheriff's office from manual to electronic over
the last few years. And we've done that through contracting with no cost
to the taxpayers," said Rodney Bivens, a Knox County Sheriff's Office
assistant chief deputy who is over corrections and personnel for the
"Prior to these contracts... everything was done on paper
forms and kept in files somewhere."
Now some major contracts are about to be up for grabs and the county
aims to negotiate better bargains for the services behind bars. Bivens
said he hopes the competitive bidding process will allow the jail to
save taxpayers some money, but said it could also help generate more
"These are some huge contracts," said Bivens. "One
contract is for the communications system we use for phone calls, video
visitation, and electronic banking. Another contract is for the pharmacy
and our electronic medical system. Then we want to put a request for
bids on a third contract for our commissary."
You can read the rest of the story RIGHT HERE. The link also includes the two TV stories (yes, they're different!) that ran at 6 and 11 yesterday.