ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - At the Dougherty County Jail, Chief Jailer John Ostrander says that his staff has been developing a pandemic plan over the past 10 years.
“When the pandemic hit this year, we simply enacted our policy, and it helped us, to build a shield of protection around the inmate population," said Chief Ostrander.
As part of that plan, contractors came Wednesday to install thermo-kiosks at the jail’s main entryway.
These scanners will make it easier for jail workers to catch COVID-19 at the door.
“Right now, I have a staff member that is shooting temperatures of people as they come in. But the kiosks will give us a more efficient and effective way to do that. And we believe that the kiosk technology is actually more accurate than the handheld thermometers. So, that’ll help us to keep a good handle on anybody that may be symptomatic trying to gain access into the building," said Chief Ostrander.
But these scanners are not the only technological improvements that the jail plans to put in.
Dougherty County assistant administrator, Scott Addison, recently approached the county commission about installing virus-killing ionization machines in the jail’s air ducts.
“This recommendation is in line with the other installations that we’ve done at similar county-owned buildings. It’s a very similar system and we recommend approval of this installation," said Addison.
Chief Ostrander says that if the commission approves the funding, the jail will work quickly to have the technology put in.
“So we’re very, very hopeful that at the upcoming commission meeting that purchase will be approved, and then we can immediately move forward with insulation. We would like to get this level of protection online as quickly as possible," said Chief Ostrander.
But that’s not all, another form of new technology is also coming to the jail.
It’s more for the inmate’s mental health than their physical one.
“We stopped in-person visitation in May. We’re moving forward with implementing video visitation that we hope to have online and operational by the end of October," said Chief Ostrander.
Chief Ostrander said that in the meantime, inmates will have increased access to phone calls and emails.