By Nancy Bowman
A new inmate commissary system is coming to the Miami County Jail and Incarceration Facility, a system Sheriff Dave Duchak said will mean less involvement by staff in the handling of money and items traditionally purchased through the commissary.
The county commissioners in December approved a contract for inmate commissary services to Keefe Commissary Network of Strongsville. A kiosk system had been under discussion for several years.
The contract, effective Jan. 1, is for three years with an option of two additional one-year terms, if agreed to by the parties. The company will invoice the county monthly for all commissary items purchased and the county will be paid a commission for the services provided equal to 35 percent of adjusted gross sales of items.
The current commission rate is 20 percent.
Sheriff Dave Duchak said there will be a kiosk in lobby of both the county jail and the Incarceration Facility. The Incarceration Facility will have vending machines in the pods. Correction staff will be handling less money and will have less staff involvement in the commissary program, Duchak said.
The system will allow family and friends to deposit money into inmate accounts in the lobbies or online. "It should be a lot more fluid system and a lot easier for the inmates as well," Duchak said. Inmates will use PIN numbers to access the system.
The system will also allow family members/friends to order Christmas packages or similar items that can be sent to inmates, said Capt. Dave Norman.
The system is expected to be implemented within 90 days, he said. New menu items will be started after the first of the year and then vending machines and kiosks will be installed and training conducted, Norman said.
"I want to thank the sheriff and Captain Norman for working on this," said Commissioner John "Bud" O'Brien. "I think it is going to be a big addition to the services that are statutorily required."
Bids on the contract were opened in the spring.