Tulsa County Jail changes visitation policies
TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) - Next month big changes are coming to the visitation policy at the Tulsa County Jail.
As it stands right now, every inmate can have three visits spread out over a six days of the week. That will change to just two opportunities Sundays and Mondays.
Plus, visits will be restricted to lawyers, bondsmen and immediate family members who've passed a background check.
The prisoner's families will feel the greatest impact and Jolene Ball isn't happy her options are being limited.
Ball said, "I can't see my son when I want to. I can't hear my son when I want to. I can't be there and it hurts!"
She said less contact with the outside world can't be good for the prisoners.
Jason Mezier agrees. We found him just outside the jail after he’d been released.
Mezier said, "There's a lot of these guys here, that's all they got. They're not getting out."
He said it will hurt the morale of the jail's population.
"When I knew I had a scheduled visit, it was something I looked forward to. It was something I counted the days down to," said Mezier.
Sheriff Vic Regalado said the changes are in line with the policies of most jails and prisons. They surveyed 44 other institutions and found the most only offer two days of visitation.
Limiting who can visit will also keep inmates from being visited by gang members or accomplices.
Regalado said, "What it does is not allow, is some who may be wanted for a felony to come into the Tulsa County Jail."
Regalado said that means better security.
Jail administrator David Parker said they've worked hard to warn and educate the prisoners about the changes.
Parker said, "We don't want any surprises, because when you get surprised you get grumpy and upset and they're human beings just like us. So, we want to treat them the same way."
To ease the transition, the jail is also offering Homewav video service. It will offer free video visits from monitors in the jail lobby or it can be used for a small fee from a home computer or mobile device.
The background check forms that family members must fill out aren't ready yet. They will be available on the sheriff's website and in the jail lobby as soon as work on the new system is completed.