The era of face-to-face visits between Twin Falls County Jail inmates and their friends or relatives has come to an end.  Instead, inmates at the south central Idaho lockup now chat with visitors via computer terminal. Jail officials made the switch last month after contracting with a company that provides electronic video services to jails and prisons in 40 states. Jail officials say the big advantage to the new system is increased security. Now, deputies no longer have to remove inmates from cell blocks, enabling staff to focus on other duties and security. Inmates and visitors sit at separate terminals equipped with video cameras and screens and chat using a traditional telephone handset. The Times-News reports visitors soon may be able to use home computer webcams for inmate visits.

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