VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- The Virginia Beach Correctional Center visitation system is back up and running after 3 months of being down.
The video communication system, installed in 2005, lets inmates video chat with their loved ones. 122 visitation stations needed repairing after age and lightning storms took a toll on it.
It’s been one week since the system was repaired, and it’s been a busy week of catch up visitations.
"I was like, it was good to hear a voice and see them in person because writing letters you can't really explain how you feel,” said visitor Devin Reynolds.
Reynolds is here to talk to his friends, but he also was inside the correctional facility when the system failed.
"It was tough not having visits," he said.
During that time, inmates were given free 5-minute phone calls.
"We appreciate the friends and family and their patience with the system,” said Chief Deputy Victoria Thomson.
Thomson said the video visitation system is the safest, most efficient way to connect inmates to loved ones.
Thompson said, "Our place is not to punish people. We like for people to have visits. We like for them to have contact with their loved ones and family.”
The Deputy Chief said the next resource for inmates would be in about two to three months from now.
Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Department expects to add something like a tablet.
Applications on the tablets would provide: ebooks, a law library, multimedia content, job and life skills, educational content, documents, requests, video visits, phone calls, messaging, and more monitored opportunities for inmates.
The cost of the tablets will not come out of the tax payer’s wallets. Instead, the provider, GTL, will be reimbursed through the usage fees paid by the inmate and/or their friends and family.