Cottle implements new electronic kiosk for inmate commissary
Lincoln County Sheriff John Cottle implemented a new electronic Kiosk payment system for inmates this month. This system will more efficiently track the flow of commissary money coming into and out of the jail. In the past, family members would have to physically drive to the sheriff’s department and go through a cumbersome process to add funds to an inmate’s commissary account.
Under the old system, manual book keeping costs the sheriff’s office an average of 150 man-hours per year.
Sheriff Cottle feels this practice affords more accountability and limits exposure to cash. “One of my first-year priorities as sheriff is to increase good accounting practices and end inferior accounting standards,” said Cottle.
Families, from the convenience of their home, can log into the computerized system from the internet and debit funds into an inmate’s account. If a family prefers to send cash they can visit the sheriff’s office main lobby kiosk and enter cash into an “ATM” looking machine which credits the inmates account.
“The kiosk is similar to that of a self check-out machine at Wal-Mart,” said Sheriff Cottle. “Just add the inmate’s account number using the touch screen and enter cash, up to $300 at a time. The money is instantly credited to an inmate’s account.”
The process is straightforward and easy to use for citizens and inmates.
Inmates have access from within the jail and can order commissary items directly from a touch screen. They can manage their account and review purchases with a flick of a finger. Once the inmate is released, he is provided a debit card with any remaining funds from his account.