Commissary kiosks to save employee time, ease access

The county commissioners opened bids on a kiosk system contract May 20.

Two bids were submitted and are being reviewed by the jail staff, which will make a recommendation to the commissioners on which bid to accept. The bids were submitted by Swanson’s Services Corp. and Sheehan Brothers Vending.

The kiosk systems would be used both at the downtown jail in Troy and the Miami County Incarceration Facility located off County Road 25A between Troy and Piqua.

The kiosk system would end the need for corrections staff to hand out items purchased by inmates through the jail commissary system.

Each inmate pod at the Incarceration Facility would have a kiosk. Inmates would use an assigned card and purchase items they want, if they have money in their commissary account.

At the downtown jail, the kiosks would be located outside cell blocks on the second and third floors.

A kiosk also would be placed in each facility lobby so family and friends could deposit money in the inmate’s account.

Today, money can be deposited only when family and friends are at the jails for a scheduled visitation.

Duchak said the system would generate reports including details on each inmate account.

“It is a win for corrections staff and inmates alike, and should cost the county no money,” he said.

The kiosk commissary systems have been around for some time, but the department has not had the time to explore options, Duchak said.

The contract company makes money off a percentage of each transaction.

The sheriff’s office also will receive a percentage of each transaction. That money would be placed in an indigent fund to be used by inmates with no money. The money also can be used to buy items such as mattresses, uniforms or other items used in the jail by inmates.

A kiosk system also is in the works at the Preble County Jail, where Major Joe Renner hopes installation will be complete by the end of the June. The Preble County set up will include vending machines for use during the day and a kiosk system for ordering items not available through vending.

The current system requires inmates to fill out a form and a clerk to work with the requests and get the items to the inmates.

“We believe this will save time,” Renner said, adding the orders placed directly to the kiosk by inmates should help better track their commissary balance and reduce complaints that orders are wrong.