The Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office announced a new email program Tuesday designed to provide stronger communication between inmates at the Tuscaloosa County Jail and their loved ones.

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Sheriff Ron Abernathy said he recognized the need to improve communication within the jail throughout the past year as COVID-19 prevented many inmates from seeing visitors in person. To address the issue, the Tuscaloosa County Jail is now granting inmates email access.

The system utilizes the Sheriff's Office website, and those looking to communicate will find a new button on each inmate's booking information page labeled "Email Inmate." Once users register an account to a corresponding email address, they can contact inmates at no charge.

Inmates will then receive a printed copy of the email with any approved photograph attachments along with normal postage mail.  The Tuscaloosa County Jail will still receive mail through the US Postal Service.