Inmates at the Chippewa County Jail can now visit with friends or family face-to-face via the Internet. But those visits come with a price.
The jail has installed new telecommunications equipment from Securus Technologies that operates much like Skype. Anyone with high-speed Internet and a webcam can dial into the jail's system to communication with an inmate, instead of physically visiting the facility.
The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram reported the online visits cost $1 a minute with a $20 minimum, so even a 2-minute visit will cost $20. Sheriff Jim Kowalczyk says Chippewa County paid $2,000 for the system and Securus invested about $100,000.
People visiting the jail in person sit at a video screen on the building's first floor and talk to inmates on the second or third floors.