Denton County Jail

Denton County Jail.

The Dallas company that ushered in an era of Denton County Jail inmates being unable to see their visitors in person could soon lose some of its grip on the jail’s visitation services.

Since 2014, Securus Technologies has been the Denton County Jail’s vendor for inmate visitation services, including the video portals that have been criticized for separating the incarcerated from physically seeing their loved ones during jail visits. Now, Denton County has picked a new company, HomeWAV, to supply video chat services to the county jail.

On Tuesday, county commissioners voted to enter contract negotiations with the company after HomeWAV bid to be the county’s video chat vendor.

Whether the county will return to allowing in-person visitation remains unanswered. Details about the contract with HomeWAV will be confidential and unavailable to the public until it is signed by both the county and the company, county officials said.

Dawn Cobb, a Denton County spokeswoman, said the contract with Securus will continue until the contract with HomeWAV is decided. She said the county will not go without a vendor for any period.

Securus, which calls itself one of the largest providers of inmate communication services in the U.S., first required the Denton County Jail by contract to prohibit in-person visitation between inmates and their loved ones. The company later removed that provision, but the county jail still prohibits in-person visitation.

A question to the Denton County Sheriff’s Office asking whether the jail will return to in-person visits was not answered as of early Tuesday evening. An email to a Securus spokesman seeking comment was not returned by early Tuesday evening.

DALTON LAFERNEY can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @daltonlaferney.

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