Boone County, Ark. jail video visitation not working

HARRISON, Ark. - These seats are normally filled with family and friends coming to see inmates at the Boone County Jail.

But they now sit empty because the video visitation system has been down for months.

Sheriff Mike Moore said, "And recently it was damaged either due to lightning or a software glitch and we've been working on it ever since trying to get it back up and running."

The sheriff said fixing it could cost the county thousands.

"If they want to spend more time with family and visit their family, they should stay out of jail," Moore said.

But Jessica Roy who lives in Harrison has a different perspective. She said people aren't perfect. She has been to jail, and her friend's son is currently in the jail.

Roy said, "He knows he's made those mistakes. But he's been in there for months and not seen his mother at all. He can't visit with her at all other than phone visitations. And that's really hard on both of them because he's her world and she's his support system."

She wishes the county could come up with another way for inmates to see their family.

"There's nothing worse than knowing you did something wrong and not being able to say face to face or over a monitor that you apologize to your family and that you miss them and love them. That should be a right for any human and not just the ones out here," Roy said.

The sheriff said contrary to what many people think -

Moore said, "This is a privilege that we try to provide for families and the inmates. It's not a right. We like for them to be able to visit their family, but it's not something the state mandates we have to do. Although we do like to try to do that."

Roy said, "They still need that support system, even if it's just a privilege you know."

The sheriff said the county is doing what they can, and inmates still can make phone calls.

Moore said, "They have a right to see their attorney. They have a right to see a bondsman. And we make sure that happens. But as far as visiting family, right now it's just on hold."

The Boone County sheriff says he's not sure when the system will be fixed.