The commissary at the Vanderburgh County Jail is now open not only to inmates, but their visiting family and friends 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It's all thanks to a partnership between the sheriff's office and a local vending company.
Sheriff Eric Williams says it doesn't cost taxpayers a thing, in fact, he thinks it actually may save money.
Inside the jail, the new blue machine is getting a lot of attention. Installed by Canteen Vending at no charge to taxpayers, the machine allows friends and family of inmates to deposit money into a commissary account.
Sheriff Eric Williams says the money becomes available to inmates immediately.
"There's a hard industrial strength kiosk mounted to the wall in each of the housing units. If they are allowed to purchase commissary, they can go to that kiosk and bring them selves up to see how much money they have on the book, and place their order electronically."
Sheriff Williams says deciding to install the machine was a no-brainer. He says the technology gives the jail staff more time focus on pressing matters, and it's more convenient for those with a family or friend behind bars.
Sheriff Williams says family and friends can also deposit money beyond business hours or even online.
Plus, when an inmate was released from custody, the jail would write them a check for what was left on the books, but now, the new system puts the leftover money on a debit card.
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