CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – It’s been nearly seven months since inmates at J Reuben Long could have visitors, but an app allows them to have virtual visitation.

Securus Video Visitation allows people to make an account, get approved by the jail and schedule virtual appointments with an inmate.

“You have to schedule a visit 24 hours in advance,” Taimar Thomas, who works in visitor supervision at JRLDC says. “You can have a visit four times a week, within the day it can be up to availability. Sometimes you could have two to three visits in a day, as long as it’s open, you can have it.”

Thomas says the virtual visitation makes it more convenient for families who live out of state and says this option has been a ‘positive influence’ for inmates during the pandemic.

Eddie Hill is the Horry County Sheriff’s Office Chaplain, he tells News13, the virtual visitation gives inmates a sense of comfort.

“Whether you’re a 20-year-old man or a 50-year-old man, I get a lot of them who just want to hear their mother’s voice and this is a great opportunity for them,” Hill explained. “It gives them an opportunity for them to catch their breath and maybe for someone to reassure them that they are not alone, that they have not been left behind, that someone is out there working on their behalf, working on their case and honestly, in some cases for someone just to say, “Hey, I love you. I know you messed up, but we still love you and we’re here for you.””

Hill says the virtual visitation is also giving the detention center a chance to restart social services with inmates; something that had to stop during the pandemic.

“We had New Directions just get one guy out and into a home last week because of the video conferencing,” Hill said.

To sign up for Securus Video Visitation, click here.