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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – They’re calling it a national first down the shore. A chance for jail inmates to connect, by video, with loved ones on the outside. And it’s all perfectly legal. In fact, the jailers set it all up.

Cape May County Sheriff Gary Schaffer got the idea after watching his wife use Skype to talk with their granddaughter. His search led him to a firm called IWEBVISIT. Outsiders can register as a user and then access the service, $10 dollars for a 20 minute visit with an inmate that can be conferenced with several people from anywhere with a computer hookup.

“Our visiting hours, in person, are seven and a half hours a week. If you’re lucky, you can get a visit a week. This system enables 12 hours a day, seven days a week and they can have up to three visits in a day,” Schaffer says.

The system’s also available for professionals, like bail bondsmen and attorneys, to reach clients. While their encounters with inmates will be secure, web visits with family and friends will be recorded just as if they were in the facility.

People can go to www.cmcsheriff.net and click on the IWEBVISIT icon.

Reported By David Madden, KYW Newsradio.

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