Prisoners’ keen still being fleeced despite the capping of prison call rates

There was widespread public outcry when it emerged that calling any of the correctional facilities in the country was costing over ten times more than the normal rate, even for the same area codes. What was even more worrying was the fact that there are certain companies that seem to be getting the lion’s share of the proceeds that come from these exploits, and an invisible hand that supports them as they keep milking the families of the prisoners dry. Research shows that a phone call to jail would cost up to $14 per minute and families of the inmates spend up to $2000 annually to stay in touch.

While the federal communications commission seemed to have helped the situation when they capped the call rates, the reality is that nothing much came out of this move. The fact that there are still private companies offering these ICT services, and that the process used to bid for the calls is still not transparent, means that the struggle is far from over for the inmates and their families. The problem may not be the phone companies per se, it is the commissions that are demanded from them by the prison systems. The companies often find themselves having to add hidden charges to the call rates to break even after paying these commissions.

These are the abuses that the system wants to put an end to. Surprisingly, companies like Securus are threatening to act against these rulings because they feel as if their hands are going to be tied. The other ways in which the family members of the prisoners are being fleeced include commissaries that help send consumables, money transfer services that sometimes charge as high as 35 percent of the money being transferred and at times even encumbrances from fees charged as part of the sentencing.

If the system is to become fair to both the inmates and their families, some serious changes need to be done.

 

Securus Technologies Inc. Holds the Largest Patent Portfolio in the Inmate Communications Industry

Securus Technologies Inc. now holds the largest patent portfolio in the inmate communications industry, according to CEO Richard A. Smith. The leading civil and criminal justice technology solutions provider announced in a PR Newswire press release, on October 19th, 2016, the company received approval for five new patents in the past three months. Smith said Securus received notice from the U.S. Patent Office acknowledging the five patents.

 

 

From 2013 until 2016, the United States Patent Office has issued 36 patents for corrections and enforcement to Securus. During the time, the company filed 90 new patents for approval from the federal agency. Richard Smith said in the press release that Securus patents increased to 248 in their portfolio. It’s the largest total of patents owned by a company in the inmate communications industry.

 

 

Securus’ patent portfolio comprises of fraud detections, commissary services, audio calling, video visitation, inmate calling, and other products. Smith accredits their team of developers, marketing professionals, R&D experts, and technicians for contributing to its patent portfolio. He said Securus currently leads the inmate communications industry by 113 patents.

 

 

Securus Technologies Inc. is the top national provider of high-technology software solutions to correctional, public safety, and law enforcement agencies. The company was founded in 1986 as Tele-Matic Corporation and was named Securus Technologies after various acquisitions. Securus leads the inmate communications industry in developing the most sophisticated technologies for law enforcement personnel, inmates, investigators, and emergency employees.

 

 

The patent portfolio of Securus is expected to increase to more than 300 patents when U.S. Patent Office approves 90 applications. Their technologies connect investigators to leads, correctional personnel to important data, and inmates with family members.

 

A Competitive Bidding System Should be Introduced in All Correction Departments

The jail authorities in Mississippi must do something about several contracts with the no-bid specification. Maybe the processes of streamlining the tenders given to various organizations that supply necessities to prisoners should be reviewed. I believe it is the only way that correction departments can ensure competitiveness to facilitate getting better and cheaper deals. I have nothing particular against Keefe Group, but the mere fact that one of the commissioners recently indicted on corruption charges is closely linked to the organization is disturbing.

Read more: http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/corporate/gainesville-businessmen-admit-paying-bribes-to-florida-prison-officials/1173073

The task force responsible for overseeing the streamlining of the process which met recently should speed up the recommendations they have in mind so that there can be fairness in tender awarding. I believe that all the lawmakers will support Gov. Phil Brant to ensure the new measures are passed in the legislative assembly. I am not surprised the governor saw the necessity to appoint the five-member task force after another Commissioner for Incarceration know as Epps, and a business colleague called Mr. McCory also faced contract corruption charges by the federal government. Even though the two accomplices have pleaded not guilty as charged, I guess their trial will expose a lot of rot in the system. Visit The Dispatch to know more about Keefe Group.

I am sure one of the attorneys involved in the case, Andy Taggart, who is also the co-chairman of the fact-finding committee was sincere when he said that the recommended acts were intended to make the government more transparent. I am happy that although he conceded the uphill task involved in preventing bribery and other acts of corruption despite the presence of tight regulations and laws, the new legislation would make it extremely hard for the perpetrators to carry on their activities blatantly. I am pissed out by the fact that several Correction Departments have contracts with no bids that need to be put up for competitive tendering. The department spokeswoman Grace Simmons Fisher pointed out where such contracts are in Health Assurance LLC based in Jackson, and Management and Training Corporation managing prisons in Mississippi but headquartered in Utah. Keefe Group which is Missouri-based also independently provides commissary facilities in Prisons in Mississippi. All these vagaries should be terminated. Know more about Keefe Group on kununu.com

Telmate Keeps Inmates and Families Connected

Not everything that you read online or in newspapers is accurate or right. Businesses will lie to people in order to keep customers or in order to gain customers. When this happens, how do you know which company is the best for you to use. For inmates who are in jail, the ability to pick and choose a business is unlikely. For this reason, the person on the outside is the one who has to work to ensure that they are receiving the best for their money.

 

When it comes to making calls from jail, the options that they have are limited. The number of ways that someone is able to make calls is from either making collect calls or from someone signing a contract with a company like Telmate. When this happens, the person who signs the contract is going to make a deposit for the phone calls to be made from the jail. The deposit that is made is not going to count towards what is charged per call and each call will be a separate charge on the account.

 

The cost of each call will vary depending on the length of the call as well as the jail that the call is being made from. There is no set fee and no set rate for each call. The rate of the call is going to be dependent on each state. Some states are regulated more than others and each state charges a different rate for tax. It is important that you find the best business for the inmate and for yourself to ensure that you are able to afford the calls being made from the jail. If it is something that is too expensive, you will have to stick to visiting the inmate on visiting days at their jail.

 

When you decide to use Telmate, you are allowing for the inmate to be closer to reform than an inmate that is unable to see and speak to their family while they are inside the prison system. Their mental health is better when they are able to speak to their family also.

 

Global Tel Link – Price Gouging Against Those Who Can Least Afford It

Physically separated from family and friends, one would think that at the very least, prison inmates would have the ability to stay connected with them over the phone. That was the case until the 1990s. Due to the exorbitant rates and fees charged by a handful of companies which dominate what has developed into a multi-billion dollar industry, now inmates can stay in touch with family and friends only if they can afford it.

This situation has forced low-income inmates and their families of friends of to make the excruciating choice of either spending thousands of dollars on phone calls which they can ill afford or remaining disconnected from their loved ones. Visit consumerist.com to know more about GTL.

In October 2015, by a 3-2 vote, the FCC mandated an over 50% rate reduction for state and interstate calls to between 11 cents and 22 cents per minute. However, Global Tel Link and other prison phone companies sued over the rate changes. Following a DC Court of Appeals decision which blocked some of the rate changes from taking effect, the FCC revised the caps with new rates which were scheduled to take effect in December 2016 for prisons, and for jails in March 2017.

Under the Trump administration, however, federal regulators have halted efforts to cut the costs of most prison phone calls. Soon after President Trump appointed Ajit Pai, who had voted against the initial rate cut, to head the FCC, the commission’s attorneys reversed their position and informed the court that the they no believe that the agency has the authority to cap intrastate rates. Watch this video about GTL on Youtube.

Global Tel Link is charging astronomical rates to prisoners and their families, making it too expensive for families to stay connected. The separation from family and friends which accompanies a prison sentence is agonizing enough. It becomes that much more unbearable when it is not economically viable to stay in contact over the phone. Advocates for fair-minded public policy positions should not put this issue to rest until our inmates’ basic rights are protected. And sadly, with the FCC reversing its previous position, it doesn’t look like this unfortunate situation is going to change anytime soon.

Read more: https://action.aclu.org/global-tel

Telmate is a Communications Program That is Offering Inmates Opportunities of Staying Connected To Their Family and Friends From Back Home

In the very center of the communicative program of Telmate solution is a digital phone system that is totally industry leading and has been engineered and designed to assist inmates with keeping facilities safe and connected. The system is totally operated on a VoIP technology over an administration system that’s easy-to-use, is fully web-based, and making operations that occur on a day to day basis simple.

 

Telmate prides themselves on having an ability of tailoring solutions that are customized and offering their communications through telephones that are considered to be state-of-the-art, including both short and long body corrections of grade phones, cordless phones, TTY/TDD phones, and cordless suicide phones.

 

A one touch call acceptance allows family and friends to participate in abilities of accepting every inmate communications by pressing a single button. The system is the online one that’s allowing individuals who are incarcerated to leave voicemail for their family and friends. Family and friends are capable of depositing funds for inmates via a mobile app for iPhone and Android, through a live operator, and in kiosks. Telmate is supporting calls to Google Voice, Skype, mobile phones, and international numbers.

 

Telmate is a form of communications for inmates that’s allowing inmates to fully communicate with those that they want to from back home in a safe, secure, and clear way. What many people aren’t necessarily understanding is that visitation methods for inmates and their visitors are not necessarily always considered to be easy. This is why systems such as one that’s provided by Telmate is one that is greatly appreciated by many people. By speaking with a customer service representative of the program of Telmate, you can obtain all of the information that you may need to begin utilizing the wonderfully designed system of communications. Please do not hesitate to go on the website, as there are many relevant details that can assist you in your endeavors of utilizing the brilliantly designed program that has been developed for all of its users to benefit from.

 

IC Solutions: They Are Not Fooling Anyone

I imagine that IC Solutions is probably pretty proud of what they have done, even though it is as despicable as it comes. They are lowlifes and I don’t normally like to use such strong language, but they have left me no choice. What other way is there to describe IC Solutions, the inmate communications provider?

When they have done things like this, http://icsolutions.pissedconsumer.com/corruption-within-inmate-calling-and-prison-services-for-inmates-and-families-20150817684649.html, they are going down a very dark path.

This is a place that no company should go down and this is the worst type of way to run a company. Frankly, they are profiting off the misery and suffering of others, especially between a parent and a child, which is a special relationship to say the least.

IC Solutions is blocking that phone call from ever happening in the first place. This parent paid almost one hundred dollars for the chance to speak to her son in prison through IC Solutions. It sounds pretty cut and dry, but IC Solutions is not known for anything to be cut and dry.

This customer has them figured out, and they don’t like what they have seen and what they have experienced. Because of it, they are speaking out and they are saying something so hopefully no one else has to experience what they have gone through. Although, the truth of the matter is that not a lot of people have a choice when it comes to this sort of communication.

Because IC Solutions has the market cornered and they are the kings of this scam, people don’t have a lot of places to go to for communication. IC Solutions is well aware of that and they have no problem taking advantage of it and running wild with it because they have people in a vulnerable state, which is exactly how IC Solutions likes it.

Learn more about IC Solutions: http://www.sj-r.com/article/20160604/NEWS/16060977 and https://www.icsolutions.com/

Keefe Group: Revolutionizing Inmate Services

Keefe Group brags as been one of the leading suppliers of personal care products, clothing, food products, and technology-oriented products to correctional facilities in the USA. Since its inception in the year 1975, Keefe Group has been on the forefront in ensuring that each inmate locked in a correctional facility, as well as the correctional officers as well, are well catered for when it comes to necessities http://www.keefegroup.com/.

Keefe began supplying correctional-oriented products on the 5th of November in the year 2008. Since then, the company has been renewing the contract on a yearly basis. In conjunction with the MDOC Inmate Services, it is estimated that Keefe made an astounding $40 million in gross revenue as a result of supplying various products to correctional facilities in the country.

Apart from supplying products to correctional facilities, Keefe Group is also mandated with the following services.

Processing Inmates Deposits

Keefe Group is mediated with making sure that each cash used by the inmates for the purchase of products is filed and recorded accordingly.

Selling Music Players to Inmates

Keefe has the exclusive rights to sell music players to inmates in various correctional facilities in the USA. Together with MDOC, the two groups share the costs obtained from the sales http://kingfish1935.blogspot.co.ke/2014/11/prisoners-are-money-keefe-404-million-g.html. For instance, Keefe Group pockets $115 and sales while MDOC pockets about $15 for each player sold.

Selling Songs and Downloads

For each song downloaded and played by the inmates, Keefe Group pockets $1.70 while MDOC receives about $0.10 per song. The money obtained from these exclusive rights is used to produce more products, pay employees, and keep the business afloat. Read more on cdispatch.com about Keefe Group.

Selling Commissary Items

Apart from owning exclusive rights to supply music players, music downloads and processing inmate deposits, Keefe Group is mandated with supplying products such as food, tobacco, and personal hygiene products to inmates. Keefe Group pays about 29.4% of commission rate to state-owned prisons and 24% to privately-owned facilitates.

Selling Prepaid Debit Cards

Keefe Group sells prepaid debit cards to inmates who may wish to purchase their products. Also, the group is mandated with processing inmate trust funds.

From the information covered in this article, it is no secret that Keefe Group has had a positive impact on the lives of prisoners and the correctional officers posted in different regions in the country

Learn more: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/education/student-activists-demand-washington-university-cut-ties-with-andrew-taylor/article_3f8f03e7-9a96-5af1-85f9-15eb782270de.html

Concession Fees Are Keeping Our Inmate’s Families Impoverished

For many years different prison-rights groups and those who are close to the imprisoned person have been complaining about the cost of phone calls to those who are in prison. Its considerably unregulated and finally the Federal Communications Commission has decided to start investigating into it.

Outside of prison the average phone call costs about $0.44 cents a minute but making a phone call to an inmate can be around $1.22 per minute. These telephone companies sign contracts with prisons and share a commission (called concession fees) with the prison system so they can be the only telephone provider available on site. With no competition they can increase the rate of phone calls as high as they would like. The largest telephone companies that provide services to prisons and other government offices are Global Tel-Link Corp. and Securus Technologies.

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zs3WHNzOcj4

The F.C.C. has released that in 2013 the concession fees paid to prisons reached $460 million dollars. These telephone companies that do compete for the prisons service are competing over commission prices. Global Tel Link has their hands on approximately 50% of the prisons in the United States. In 2011 the company was sold for $1 Billion dollars.

The F.C.C. has to decide whether to put a limit or a ban on concession fees. Companies like Global Tel-Link Corp. are making profits off of people who are finding themselves in defenseless situations. One family member of an inmate quotes spending over $3,000 on phone bills in one month just to keep in contact and discuss legal matters. The concession fees are causing harm to those who haven’t broken the law by draining them of all their funds. Some family members of inmates don’t get to speak because they simply cannot afford it. Read more reviews at globaltellinkreviews.com

Global Tel-Link and Securus have stated that if the calls rate cap falls below $0.20 cents a minute they will lose the ability to run their business. Prisoner Advocates disagree and believe the calls rate cap can drop to $0.07 cents a minute and still allow room for profit.

Global Tel-Link and Securus are businesses ran on the intention of making profit off of those in limited and low-income situations. Watch this video on Youtube.

The Development of Inmate Communications

Communications in correctional facilities have been established these days. Several reviews and renewals have been made to improve the quality of the communications in prisons. The people in the cells have better and clearer quality of sound as they talk to their loved ones. Video calls have been made available for inmates in the prison facilities.

 

The companies that provide the call services have been working hard to improve sound clarity and network. The amount being charged and capability of call that can be made have been stepped up and costs largely reduced. The companies rendering the services are operating at all times be it day or night.

 

Strides made by those undertakings overtime have been achieved by improving connectivity and network in calls made in the correctional facilities. Video visitation calls have also been made available. Inmates can these days video call their homes and houses because technology has boosted connectivity of the internet so that videos will be clear with no downtime.

 

Fathers in prisons can now get to know how things are in their families and how kids have been doing at school without them going there. Family members can link up with each other at any time of day. The government and the companies providing these services are trying hard to subsidies prices. The state governments and federal governments are stressing that these companies prove how and why they have to give dear prices to the users. Some of the governments have come to the understanding that improvements in technology with the aim of boosting the quality of sound and videos, will require more finances. This requirement will then be transferred to the clientele.

 

The communication providers are at the moment trying hard to lower the costs while continuing to improve the service quality.