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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, April 2, 2021

HCSO deploys enhanced electronic inmate services




Inmates at Silverdale Detention Center can now file their grievances in a new complaint box with a modern touch.

Instead of using pen and paper forms to file grievances, medical requests and commissary orders, inmates can use the new VendEngine kiosks located throughout the center.

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office recently installed the digital kiosks in an attempt to “maximize efficiency and accountability,” says Sheriff Jim Hammond.

“These kiosks offer a better, more efficient way to address inmate requests and concerns in a fair and equitable manner.”

The use of paper forms was cumbersome, Hammond states, and required additional work to gather, review and address.

“With over 1,000 inmates in our custody at Silverdale at any given time, it’s important to have an efficient and accessible way for us to address grievances and requests,” Hammond says.

Grievances

Grievances include safety issues, complaints, incompatibilities or other concerns inmates might have regarding their incarceration.

“Inmate grievances are an important communication tool for corrections personnel,” Hammond continues. “We take each grievance seriously and try to respond within a reasonable period of time.”

Commissary

The Blind Vendors Association operates the HCSO’s inmate commissary through a contract with Tennessee Business Enterprises in accordance with Tennessee law.

Inmates are able to purchase snack items such as chips, coffee, dried meats, candy bars, beverages or other approved food snack items through the commissary with their own money.

Commissary items also include non-food related items like radios, over-the-counter medications, fans, hygiene products, batteries, stamps and clothing.

Family and friends can now load funds via kiosks for inmates to use.

Medical requests

The HCSO provides medical care to inmates at Silverdale Detention Center through a contract with Quality Correctional Health Care and dental services with local dentists who contract with the office.

The new kiosks allow inmates to issue medical requests to corrections and medical staff, allowing them to schedule labs, mental health visits and physician appointments.

To ensure accessibility, each housing unit has at least one kiosk for inmates to utilize.

“This process is more efficient for both the inmate and our corrections personnel, offers better accountability and transparency, and speeds up processing,” Hammond says.

Source: HSCO