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Changes coming to Hillsborough County jails, courthouse due to coronavirus

For Immediate Release : Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
Release Number: 20-081

Date

Monday March 16, 2020 12:00 PM

Location

Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Tampa, FL
Changes coming to Hillsborough County jails, courthouse due to coronavirus

Out of an abundance of caution to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, effective Tuesday, March 17, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is suspending jailhouse video visitation for families and friends of inmates.
 
Video visitation equipment, which is being thoroughly sanitized daily, will only be available for attorneys of inmates. Remote video visitation, allowing people to talk to inmates from their home computers, will still be available through the HCSO website for a small fee of $8 for 20 minutes, the same cost that was in effect prior to the changes. The public can set up a video visitation account through the following link: https://hcsovisit.com/app
 
Lobbies at both the Falkenburg and Orient Road Jails will be closed indefinitely effective Tuesday, March 17. Those who arrive at Orient Road Jail to pay a bond for an inmate, including bail bondsmen, will find a sign at the front entrance directing them to a side door where an HCSO employee will assist them through a service window for the protection of both the HCSO staff and the public.
 
Anyone coming to the jails to pick up a newly-released inmate is encouraged to wait in their vehicles and call 813-247-8300 before arriving if they have any questions about the release process. The same phone number will be posted on doors at the entrance of the jails.
 
All updates regarding these changes will be provided to inmates through inmate kiosks inside the jails. To further allow inmates to continue communicating with their relatives during this time, each inmate will receive two free 5-minute phone calls beginning later this week.
 
As of Tuesday, March 17, the first appearance court will operate on reduced hours, begin at 1 p.m. instead of 9 a.m. in Courtroom 17. Those appearing before a judge will still do so in person. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is now allowing misdemeanor probation checks to be made over the phone.
 
“The changes we are implementing are for the safety of the public, the inmates and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office employees who work with both populations. We want to be proactive in helping prevent the spread of the coronavirus in our community and our facilities that thousands of people frequent on a daily basis,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “We ask everyone to have patience during this time. While these changes may be a slight inconvenience to some, ultimately, they are for the safety of us all.”