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BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - Cramped space at the St. Clair County jail means inmate visits soon may be going to cyberspace.

The Belleville News-Democrat says St. Clair County Sheriff Rick Watson is exploring the costs of perhaps giving relatives the option of visiting with their jailed loved ones through online video streaming.

Watson says such an offering would be safer in that it would let inmates have such visits from their cells rather than requiring guards to move them to and from the visitation area. And it would be convenient for the relatives.

Supporters of the idea include the John Howard Association, a nonprofit prison watchdog. Its executive director, John Maki, says enabling more visitations creates a calmer lockup, improving safety of the jail and staff.
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