Securus Technologies – How Private Prisons Profit From Families And Friends Communicating With Inmates

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Securus Technologies – How Private Prisons Profit From Families And Friends Communicating With Inmates

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[Securus Technologies – How Private Prisons Profit From Families And Friends Communicating With Inmates]

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES

There is an ongoing controversy surrounding the business of prison phone calls in the United States.

One state official has recently described the industry as “worse than any payday loan scheme.”

Families pay millions every year to keep in touch with their loved ones behind bars.

[Joanne Jones:] Source: LYBIO.net
I want everybody to know, I want people to know that companies are taking advantage of family members, of people that are incarcerated and there are companies that are making money off of our backs just because we have the misfortune of having somebody incarcerated.

In January 2014, Joanne’s son, Nate was arrested in Texas and charged with aggravated robbery.

[Joanne Jones:]
You got the [Killington] update.

[Incarcerated Man (Son):]
Yeah.

[Incarcerated Man:]
Yeah, I have the [Killington] update. Yeah, you guys are going to get out there on the kayaks today. Yeah, that’s right.

[Joanne Jones:]
Tomorrow.

Hays County jail, where Nate awaits trial, does not allow in-person visits.

The exclusive provider of communication in the jail is a private company called Securus.

[Joanne Jones:]
Yeah, today we’re going to take it easy, yeah, yeah.

[Joanne Jones:]
But we got good weather but it’s supposed to rain for the parade.

Yeah, yeah, but they got good weather, but it suppose to rain for the parade.

[Reporter:]
What’s like the most ridiculous part of this?

[Joanne Jones:] Source: LYBIO.net
The cost, pure and simple, the Securus is here, these amounts are the – are for the phone.

A 15-minute phone call for Joanne costs about $10, while video calls range from $8 to $20.

In the last year, Joanne has spent well over $1,000 on Securus bills.

[Joanne Jones:]
So anyway you see like $47.95, so if there was a deposit of $40, $40 would go for the phone $7.95…

[Joanne Jones:]
I don’t understand what the fees even stand for, there is a fee for – a $5 fee, flat fee each $7.95 for me to put money into my phone account, 5% – percentage fee, there’s $2 credit card processing fee. And I’ve not been able to get any answers from Securus. I’ve written to the President twice.

[Joanne Jones:]
Yeah, good, you look good, I – I like your haircut.

[Incarcerated Man:]
Yeah you like it.

[Joanne Jones:]
Yeah, yeah they did good.

Securus is reportedly valued at $1 billion.

[Indiscernible]

Yeah, yeah.

[Joanne Jones:]
I’m fortunate, I have a job, it’s not what I want to spend my money on, but can I? Yeah I have that choice. There are family members that don’t have that choice.

[Man (Son):]
You know a lot of people don’t think about this issue because – yeah, I know I would never thought about this if I was put in this situation. You know most people there – they’re mentality is well you shouldn’t have been locked up if you don’t like that and Securus is taking advantage of those dad circumstances.

[Joanne Jones:]
I don’t like to feel like I’m a victim. I don’t want to be a victim. I want to be somebody who’s – I don’t want my son to be a victim. I want to be somebody who’s helping, helping myself, helping my child, helping other families that are going through this that don’t know what to do, I mean, at least I have the skills and the ability to do it. So I’m going to do it.

[Son:]
Good to see you guys, and I love you all very much.

[Joanne Jones:] Source: LYBIO.net
Love you too. Have a great time out in the sunshine, enjoy your games and…

[Son:]
You guys enjoy your kayaking tomorrow and try to stay dry.

[Joanne Jones:]
Yeah okay. So we’ll talk to you maybe…

By early fall, the FCC plans to announce new regulations on this industry.

Read our feature story about the prison phone business on IBTimes.com.

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES

Produced by Eric Markowitz and Nick Deel

Securus Technologies - How Private Prisons Profit From Families And Friends Communicating With Inmates

Securus Technologies – How Private Prisons Profit From Families And Friends Communicating With Inmates

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