Many short-term correctional facilities have limited space, making it challenging to secure offenders’ personal belongings on-site. Because of this issue, officers often need to take on tedious tasks like transporting personal items to a secure location and supervising offender and family member pickups.

Such was the case for Spokane County’s facility. But Sergeant Gigi Parker of Spokane County Detention Services was determined to find a solution. She reached out to Smiota, and Spokane County Jail soon became the first to use Smiota’s smart lockers for managing inmates’ belongings.

The challenge: A time-consuming off-site storage process

For many years, Spokane County Jail had no secure options for storing offenders’ personal belongings at their facility. Instead, officers had to go through the cumbersome process of manually tagging and boxing items for each offender, then transporting those items to an off-site storage location. 

Each time an offender was released on bail or moved to a long-term facility, someone had to drive over to the storage site, pick up the offender’s belongings, and bring them back to the jail. 

All those trips back and forth took valuable time away from the officers, time they weren’t able to spend protecting and serving their community. 

The solution: Smart lockers for simple on-site storage

Smiota installed both indoor and outdoor locker units, bringing a total of 156 locker doors to the jail premises. Now, officers have a secure place to store belongings right on-site, so they no longer need to travel to and from a separate storage facility.  

Smiota also designed a custom software solution with two flexible workflows for property pickup. So offenders or their family members can quickly and easily pick up their belongings from the lockers on their own — no need for officer presence.  

Here’s how managing an inmate’s personal belongings works at the jail now:

Workflow 1: Short-term storage

If an offender is only in temporary custody, an officer deposits their belongings into a locker compartment using only an incident number. Upon their release, the offender simply needs to enter that incident number to collect their items — no other personal information is required. 

Workflow 2: Long-term transfers

If an offender is moving to a long-term facility, an officer can enter the contact information of the offender’s family or friends. The system automatically notifies the family member or friend that the belongings are ready for pickup. That person can then use a provided QR code or passcode to retrieve the items. 

In the event that the offender’s contact person fails to pick up the items within a reasonable time, Spokane County can choose to donate, auction, or destroy the personal property. Proceeds from auctioned items go to the Inmate Welfare Fund. 

The result: A simple, efficient system

The on-site lockers and accompanying workflows have already made a significant difference for Spokane County Jail:

  • Time-saving: The lockers eliminate the need for officers to be present at pickups or transport personal items to an off-site facility. Officers have gained back a tremendous amount of time to dedicate to other duties. 
  • Efficient: Smiota’s solution streamlines the deposit and pickup processes, creating a faster, more effective system.   
  • Secure: With unique PIN codes, Smiota’s lockers allow the facility to store items in an easily accessible location. Automatic tracking ensures a complete chain of custody for all items, further preventing theft and loss.
  • Convenient: Offenders’ family members receive automatic notifications about pickups, including instructions and access codes.

Smiota worked closely with Sergeant Parker to tailor the smart locker solution to Spokane County’s needs. “It’s a hands-off approach to handling inmate property,” Sergeant Parker said. “It offers more convenience for the facility and the friends and family of the incarcerated.” 

Because of her innovative leadership in this initiative, Spokane County recognized Sergeant Parker with a certificate of appreciation. And the success prompted Spokane County to consider a similar smart locker solution for their Mental Health Facility. 

Spokane County Locker Bank 2

Interested in using our smart lockers at your facility? Contact us to learn more!