Looking back only a few years ago, our prison easily ranked as the most dangerous in all of California. Considering how many jails there are in this state, that is saying something. The blending of younger gang members with overcrowded conditions made our facility ripe for violence, and it reached a point we didn’t think we had a chance of turning things around. Luckily, we discovered that Securus Technologies has already helped thousands of other jails to deal with the same issues, so we were eager at the time to see if they could help us.
Securus Technologies has a large headquarters in Texas, and all thousand employees have one single mission, making the world safe. The CEO of Securus Technologies, Rick Smith, explained how the LBS software of his call monitoring system can do the work of several officers, allowing our jail to utilize those officers in other areas. That alone has given us the ability to be in more places at once than we were in the past.
Now when we show up for work, the LBS software is already on the job listening to the inmates and alerting officers if anything needs to be addressed before it has the chance to become a dangerous situation. Here are a few examples of how the call monitoring system has allowed us to regain order in this facility.
There was a call by an inmate asking his best friend to slip him prescription drugs during their visiting day. One inmate told his mother the gangs were forcing him to sell drugs to other inmates. We even discovered a situation where an inmate was talking about putting a weapon in the yard to use in a fight with a rival gang member. Now we are able to get control before this situations are even able to take place.
More than 80% of the telecommunications market in our criminal justice system is taken up by a company called Global Tel Link. This company has been in the news for their horrific treatment prisoners. This company uses a legal bribing system to get government contracts that give them incredible power. With not competition for telecommunication services, they are free to charge whatever they want. They charge a rate so high that many families cannot afford to stay in touch with their incarcerated members.
The second-largest telecommunications provider in our criminal justice system is Securus Technologies. Instead of being beholden to shareholders, Securus reinvests more than $600 million in profits into innovations and technologies. These innovations make prisoner lives better while helping law enforcement to do their jobs more effectively.
One of the best innovations from Securus is a reliable video chat service that connects prisoners with their families. The service is easy to use and works directly through the Securus website. This allows families to take their prisoner anywhere. They can take them to a family birthday, a holiday celebration or even a concert.
Securus has recently purchased a company called JPay. This company makes it easy for inmates to pay their phone bills so they can keep making video chats and calls. It also makes it easy for families to keep the account full of cash.
But the best innovation allows prison guards to listen to all the phone calls made by inmates. A software can scan all the recorded phone calls to find one individual’s voice. It can also scans the recorded phone calls for certain phrases. It flags those calls for review. Law enforcement can use these recordings to get arrests, convictions and search warrants. It’s a great tool that keeps prison guards, law enforcement officers and prisoners safer.
Try to put yourself into the shoes of a prisoner. You do not need to know the crime that you committed, you just need to know that you have been sentenced to prison. Many prisoners are sent away from their families to serve time. This distance can make a visitation virtually impossible.
Now imagine that the prison you are serving time in has contracted a company called Global Tel-Link to provide telephone services. It turns out that this company is incredibly corrupt. They charge your family a couple of hundred bucks per week just to make phone calls. Your phone call time starts to diminish as your family realizes how expensive it is.
Then imagine that you have been transferred. You are no closer to your family but this new prison facility is now serviced by Securus Technologies. This company allows you to make video chat calls to your family. Each video chat only costs about three bucks and the system is incredibly easy to use.
Your family decides to bring you everywhere. They start a video chat on a tablet and tore you around the new house. They video visit with you during your child’s birthday party. And they even introduce you to the new family dog using this technology.
Do you think you would be grateful to Securus for this video visitation technology?
You could probably feel it during this thought experiment. When a prisoner is not allowed to communicate with the outside world, they are much more likely to commit crimes when released. They feel disenfranchised. However, when a prisoner is allowed to communicate freely with the outside world, they are much less likely to re-offend.
Securus should be providing telecommunications services to every prism in this country. It is the humane thing to do and it reduces crime.