Some Wisconsin counties offer Skype-type visits

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MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Relatives who want to visit inmates in five Wisconsin counties no longer have to come to the jail in person. Now they can visit from afar using a Skype-like video system, for 25 cents a minute.

Racine County just became the fifth county to install the new system, made by Dallas-based Securus Technologies.

Deputies say video visitations are easier to monitor because inmates don't have to be shuffled around, and there's no risk of visitors trying to sneak in contraband. Also, video visits can be monitored remotely, so fewer staffers need to be on hand.

The system is also in jails in Barron, Chippewa, Forest and Marathon counties. Authorities elsewhere say they're keeping an eye on how well the new systems work to evaluate whether to offer the same option.

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