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Jasper County Tribune

Supervisors approve commissary kiosk for county jail

Child abuse prevention proclamation highlights local challenges

Family members of inmates detained at the Jasper County Jail will soon be able to deposit cash into a personal needs account at the jail from their own home.

The Board of Supervisors approved a three-year contract Tuesday with Keefe Commissary Network, LLC (KCN) for cash deposits and handling made through a kiosk, providing both walk-in, web-based and mobile payments.

The system is of no charge to the county and is paid for through a transaction fee to the person initiating the payment/deposit. The supervisors approved the contract 2-0 during their weekly meeting at the Jasper County Courthouse.

“This streamlines things where family and friends can actually use a debit card, credit card or cash. They can also do it from home and put money into their (inmate’s) account through the kiosk,” County Sheriff John Halferty said. “It’s a smoother transition. It’s a good addition and resources for the number of inmates we’re housing right now.”

Halferty said it also eliminates the need for county jail staff to physically take in, count and deposit money for inmates.

KCN currently operates as the commissary for Jasper County Jail, allowing inmates to purchase any extra items they’d like beyond the basics provided by jail staff.

The contract was reviewed by the county attorney’s office, which recommended reducing the terms with KCN from five to three years.

Child Abuse Prevention Month:

In conjunction with Child Abuse Prevention Month in April, Jasper County Health Department Director Becky Pryor addressed the supervisors Tuesday to ask the board to issue a proclamation and provide local and national statistics around child abuse.

Pryor said the health department is taking part in the nationwide Pinwheels for Prevention Campaign and will be distributing blue pinwheels to businesses around Newton as well as holding events throughout the month.

“It’s just a beginning to advocated for the kids,” Pryor said.

According to data from the county health department, there were 434 child abuse cases investigated in Jasper County in 2017. Of those, 24 were deemed confirmed and 83 were founded. There were 202 unconfirmed reports. Of the total cases, 125 were conducted family assessments

This is up from 2016 where the Iowa Department of Human Services investigated 357 cases. There was also nearly half the number of founded cases in 2016 compared to 2017.

Nationally, five children per day die from child abuse in the U.S., 70 percent are less than 2 years old. Approximately 80 percent of abuse occurs from a parent and physical abuse is the most common.

Pryor linked some of the local data to her department’s community health needs assessment and said at least 80 percent of children abused have a least one psychological disorder.

But Pryor told the supervisors there’s still work to do. Child abuse costs $233 million per year and $124 nationally. Proclamations like the one issued at the courthouse Tuesday, she said, helps spread awareness.

Pryor said to report suspected abuse, people should contact Iowa DHS or call the 24-hour The Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-362-2178. If you believe the child is in immediate danger, call 911.

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