Mail Goes Digital At Benton County Jail

BENTON COUNTY (KFSM) -- Snail mail is a thing of the past at the Benton County Jail.

Now, the jail is only allowing digital mail for inmates. Traditional letters will no longer be received.

The system they're implementing is Smart Jail Mail.

Those who have a loved one in the jail will now have to send letters to a Fayetteville company instead of the jail.

Sgt. Shannon Jenkins with the Benton County Sheriff's Office explained, "What they will do, is they will go through that and they will scan it in and send it and it appears in an inbox just like your email."

Jenkins said instead of mailing anything, inmates will now be emailed and will get their letters faster.

“The screening process, it`s all automated now. We put in information that we are wanting to screen. The computer system that we use screens all the information that information that goes through and catching anything,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins said that a benefit of this system is it decreases contraband coming into the jail, which makes it safer for jailers and officers.

“You would really be surprised on the amount of things that would actually get through the mail. And they are very creative, so this takes away that creativity from them because they are having to send it through the internet,” she said.

All mail and pictures are saved in the system`s server, so when inmates are released they can gain access to all of it. She said the system is popular with the inmates because they don`t have to wait several days to get their mail.

Inmates get two stamps weekly, and now they get two digital credits weekly. If they want to send more mail through the system, they have to pay for it themselves.

Inmates can send out paper mail, but they cannot receive it. The only paper mail that they can get are legal documents.