Since she was 3, Amy Anderson's mother has been in and out of jail. She has no contact with her father, who also is locked up.
So, at the age of 12, the Broomfield middle schooler knows all about jailhouse visits.
Still, she and her mother were taken aback when they learned that a recent Sunday visit at the Denver County Jail would be conducted through a computer screen.
Amy could not hug her mother or sit on her lap, as she once did at the Boulder County Jail.
Instead, the skinny, talkative tween awaited instructions from a front-desk deputy in the jail's lobby, plunked down on a stool attached to a black computer terminal, and waited. Her 82-year-old grandmother, caregiver and confidante sat on a plastic chair next to her. Other families did the same.
At the stroke of 3 p.m., the deputy pushed a button and 44- year-old Jane Anderson appeared on the screen. At least part of Jane Anderson. At many points during the 30-minute conversation, Amy could see only her mother's forehead.
Welcome to the brave new world of jailhouse visitation. Across the country, jails are embracing technology to solve age- old logistical problems such as contraband sneaking into cells and the high cost of security.
In metro Denver, Douglas County is the latest jurisdiction to open a video visitation terminal. Arapahoe and Adams counties already have them. Elsewhere, Weld, El Paso and Mesa counties do, too.
Rocky Mountain News