In-person visits at the Black Hawk County Jail will be ending soon.

Sheriff's officials announced Tuesday that, under a procedure change, family and friends will no longer be allowed to go to the third-floor booths to visit inmates. Starting Jan. 27, all visitations will be conducted virtually from the jail's lobby through cellphones, tablets or kiosks.

Local visitation days and hours will remain the same as will the current dress code, sheriff's officials said. There is no cost to either party for a local visit, but anyone using the system remotely will be charged based on their data usage.

In order to use the system, visitors will need to establish an account at the CIDnet Friends and Family Portal. The link can also be found on the Black Hawk County Sheriff's Office website by clicking on the CIDnet logo on the right side of the screen.

According to sheriff's officials, all visitors have to be approved by staff, and all local visits must be scheduled 24 hours in advance. Staff will be on hand to assist those without access to the internet or who may have trouble navigating the system.

All visits are recorded and subject to monitoring. Sheriff's officials said any inappropriate behavior will result in termination of the visit and a possible suspension of visitation privileges for both the visitor and inmate. Any criminal behavior and/or admissions may be used in a court of law.

The video visitation system that supplements the inmate telephone system was installed at the Black Hawk County Jail in November. The video visits allow the inmates and their contacts to see each other using technology similar to "Zoom" or "Facetime."

Currently the system is only in place for those visiting remotely from their cell phone or computer. Next week, the system will also be in use at the jail.

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