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BOISE -- Jail officials in Canyon County are the latest to ditch traditional face-to-face visits between inmates and the public in favor of online chats.

Canyon County Sheriff Chris Smith says the new video visitation system will be introduced Tuesday. The jail is making the switch with video software developed by Telmate, a company that is headquartered in Oregon and provides phone services to inmates and detainees in 40 states and in Canada.

In Idaho, jails in Ada and Twin Falls counties have also ended traditional inmate visits.

Authorities have said the biggest advantages are increased flexibility for visitors and improved efficiencies at the jails, where deputies will no longer need to take the time to remove inmates from cell blocks and screen visitors.

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