CHARLOTTE - Visitation for inmates at the Mecklenburg County Jail is going digital.

The sheriff's office launched a new video conference service that enables families to talk to people behind bars from their computers.           

People can use the sheriff's office's video booths or they can access the system online, from anywhere, for a fee of $12.50

Experts say it improves inmates' connectivity to the outside world and efficiency inside the jail.

"It's a number of things my staff are responsible for doing in a 12-hour period, so now this will create more opportunities for them to do other things besides walking up and down the hallway bringing inmates back and forth to visitation."

Several North Carolina counties, including Wake and Durham counties -- already use video visitation.

Online access to the system is free in Mecklenburg County until October 24.