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Walton County Jail adopts digital mailing system

Special to Gannett
Walton Sun

Snail mail is becoming a thing of the past at the Walton County Jail.

This week, Walton County Sheriff’s Office transitioned to a digital version of all non-legal inmate mail. The new system is the result of a partnership with GTL, WCSO’s inmate video visitation provider, and comes at no cost to taxpayers.

According to Sheriff Michael Adkinson, this decision was made to further mitigate the introduction of contraband and increase efficiency.

“We have thwarted attempts to introduce liquid intoxicants, such as Suboxin (used to treat opiate addiction), synthetic cannabinoids (KS) and tobacco via traditional mail,” Adkinson said. “By offering this service, we hope to provide an extra barrier for those seeking to sneak drugs or other contraband into a secure facility.”

Inmates will now use a digital platform to access scanned images of letters, photos and drawings from their friends and family. All mail and its contents will be reviewed and approved by security staff, prior to electronic delivery to the inmate.

Family and friends who wish to send letters will be sending them to a designated Post Office Box in North Carolina. The service provider will then sort and scan the mail for digital delivery.

All housing units are equipped with wall mounted kiosks and tablet devices to allow inmates to access their letter images, including a scan of the envelope.

“Protecting our employees and enhancing security are the two issues that led to this decision,” Adkinson said. “But it’s also our fiscal responsibility to save dollars in the form of staff man-hours to process and search mail.”

All mail and pictures are saved in the GTL system’s server, so when inmates are released they have access to all of it. Inmates will continue to send out paper mail, but cannot receive it. The only paper mail inmates will receive will be legal mail. Any legal mail inadvertently received by the mail center will be forward to the jail for processing.

For more information about GTL’s corrections industry technology solutions, visit www.gtl.net/