The Keefe Group is a private prisoner service company that is based in St. Louis, Missouri. According to correction.com, the company has a history of being involved in corrupt dealings and bribery in prison contracts across the United States. Services that the Keefe Group provides to prisoners includes delivering snacks, toiletries, clothes, footwear and entertainment options such as television and music to prisoners. The company also is involved with money transfers to prisoners from their families. The Keefe group also provides commissary management, video visitation and phone communication to inmates. Keefe Group has been in existence since 1975.

According to PrisonCensorship, some examples of the Keefe Group’s corrupt dealings involving bribery is the famous Gainsville, Florida bribery case. Two businessman in that area were convicted of paying out bribes to Keefe Commissary and prison officials in Florida. In this case, two Florida businessmen named Edward Lee Dugger and Joseph Arthur Deese were found to have influenced high ranking prison officials in Florida in the form of kick backs.

Shortly after Keefe Group was awarded the contacts for vending services in Florida, high ranking prison officials such as James V. Crosby and Allen Wayne Clark introduced the the two businessmen to executives in the Keefe Group. A company was then created that would be run by the two Florida businessmen. This company would service canteens to visitors of Florida state prison facilities.

In exchange for managing the company the two businessmen, Deese and Dugger would pay Keefe Commissary executives over a quarter million dollars each year. The expected revenue from managing the new canteen visitor service field was estimated to be around $1.5 million dollars a year. Additional information from prisoncensorship.com says Deese and Dugger would pay kickbacks amounting in thousands of dollars a month to high ranking prison officials that awarded the contract to the Keefe Group in the first place. Despite the obvious involvement in the corruption of this case, the Keefe Group has managed to avoid being prosecuted. Lawyers believe that the group has strong political clout which shields it from fraud and corruption charges.

Learn more: http://www.cdispatch.com/news/article.asp?aid=39055

According to a recent study provided by the US based, non profit research institution National Research Council, the United States of America still remains the number one country in the world for the most individuals imprisoned. This is not particularly surprising to those that follow the news, what is quite surprising, and to some degree quite depressing, is that the United States of America now accounts for five percent of the world’s total incarcerated population.

Why this is should be very worrying, even beyond the concern for those housed in the prisons themselves, is the burden that prisons place upon the United States taxpayers. In fact prison taxes are only slightly less expensive than the taxes for medicade and education. What makes all of this even more worrying is that, according to the National Research Council, term of imprisonment is also rising, seemingly in some kind of tandem to the rates of incarceration.

Due to laws on both the state and federal level, such as the 3 strike laws imposed against repeat offenders ensures that they will stay far long behind bars and has subsequently increased the burden on America’s taxpayers. A little fact which will bring all of this more starkly into the light is that though rates of criminality have gone sharply both up and down since the 1970s, however, rate of imprisonment has only increased linearly.

Prison guards employed at the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department(SFSD) were indicted for running their own private gladiator-style “fight club.”

Ringleader Scott Neu was charged with a number of misdemeanor and felony counts of making threats, inhumane treatment to a prisoner and inflicting cruel and unusual punishment. His cohorts, deputies Eugene Jones and Clifford Chiba were charged similarly. Neu has already was fired from the sheriff’s department in 2015. He has had numerous complaints filed against him during his tenure at SFSD. He was accused of sexually abusing three prisoners, according to a 2006 lawsuit.

In a joint news conference with the FBI, Prosecuting Attorney George Gascon laid out his findings. During the year-long investigation, it was found that Neu forced prisoners to fight. If the refused to comply, he would threaten them with mace, stun guns and other forms of abuse. In a written statement, several inmates claimed that they were forced to fight for food and other items for Neu’s entertainment.

Prisoners Stanley Harris and Ricardo Garcia said that Neu threatened them about reporting injuries sustained in the matches. He told them to tell anyone who asked that their injuries were a result of falling out the bunk.

The SFSD union representative defended all three officers by saying they never participated in fight clubs. The prisoner were allowed to wrestle to blow off steam, according the union rep.

“Neu, Jones and Chiba are the prime example of what is wrong with the correctional facilities,” said Garcon. “Chiba had the opportunity to stop it, but didn’t, so he violated the rules of his job.

In North Dakota, prisons are defaulting as the go-to resource for low-level felony offenses, parole violations, and even mental health and substance abuse treatment due to a lack of alternative resources throughout the state.

Yet, as reported in the Jamestown Sun, state legislators are looking to change that.

Researchers on the topic recently presented their findings to North Dakota’s Justice Reinvestment Initiative. That Initiative, led by 16 lawmakers, corrections officials, judges, state’s attorneys and law enforcement officials, is looking at how the state prison system can be revamped to better serve everyone involved. The goal is to have a set of recommendations ready to go for the 2017 legislative session.

North Dakota spent 25 million dollars in fiscal year 2014 imprisoning people with parole violations or low-level property and drug offences, also known as class C felonies. Of those sent to jail, 62 percent had committed a class C felony. Another 27 percent of the state’s prison inmates are there because of a probation or parole violation. Many of those violations were non-criminal in nature, so the Initiative hopes to discover other options than a jail cell.

The other major finding was the acute need for better mental health and substance abuse treatment centers. Throughout western North Dakota, a shortage of proper facilities mean that city and county jails double as mental health and substance abuse facilities.

Only 12 percent of parole and probation officers said they felt substance abuse treatment was accessible and available. For mental health treatment, it dropped to 4 percent. Many of those surveyed reported that it can take up to three weeks for access to full community treatment for those problems, which means that many offenders who need mental health or substance abuse help often sit in jail for 72 hours instead.

Inmate communication systems are getting a ton of buzz. There are a plethora of companies that are coming forth and making it easier to communicate from the outside in. People that are on the outside do not have to worry. There are a ton of companies that are producing apps that are getting technology into prisons, and this has improved the visitation because many aspects of visitation are now virtual.

Securus has an app for inmate communication that has been downloaded 65,000 times. The department of corrections has spent millions of dollars on upgrades. This shows that there is a progression in the way that many people are communicating with their friends and family members that are locked behind bars.

A good number of people are seeing these changes and embracing the new forms of technology because it is easier than trying to
go to a prison, waiting in line and getting patted down in order to see someone for a limited amount of time.

The biggest thing that has made people embrace this technology is the high level of convenience that it gives users. Many companies have invested in secure connections that give prisoners and their family members a higher level of privacy for their video visits.

This communication keeps the spirits of inmates high. They need to remain motivated. They can only do this when they keep in touch with their families. People that have no family members on the outside are likely to lose motivation and spend more time on the inside. People that have the outside connection will be much more likely to get on good behavior because they have something to look forward to on the outside. These inmates with good behavior reduces overcrowding, and they get out earlier as a result of that.

For some time now there has been a growing consensus that the United States criminal justice system is in dire straights. And it’s not a partisan issue either, both the majority of conservatives and liberals, republicans and democrats largely agree that some major overhauls must be undertaken to change the failing system. undoubtedly the issue which has been causing some of the greatest grief is the privatization of the prison system. Many people do not know this but the United States’ prison system is heavily privatized, controlled by well known companies such as the Corrections Corporation of America, also known as the CCA, as well as the GEO Group, JPay, GTL and Corizon.

All of these companies have wildly varying policies and serve various different function that run the gamut from incarceration transportation, food distribution and medical treatment. However, the one trait which all of these companies share in common is a shared history of cutting corners to maximize profits, business tactics which have caused harm to both the prisoners under these companies care, as well as the taxpayers who foot the bill.

But thankfully a new, bipartisan effort is combating this nation wide burden, a headstrong initiative called Programs Not Profits (more on this can be found here: Huffpost, Crime. The program aims to, step by step, replace and reverse the privatization that has taken place within the prison system and institute new, more comprehensive and pragmatic solutions to the prison problem by addressing the core causes of crime, rather than it’s symptoms.

The ongoing debate between telecommunication companies, inmates, and an inmate’s family has been getting intense. For example, many prison directors are exposing the fact that video visitations are much safer for them. Prison directors point out that contraband is dramatically reduced using this system.

The telecommunication’s industry insist that connecting families and inmates through video is cheaper. This is true, as the average cost is 10 dollars for 20 minutes. The problem is that there is almost no oversight or hardly any competition towards the telecommunication’s industries that provide these services to correctional facilities. Many families feel like the prices can be challenged with more competition, and the quality can be improved.

One inmate–who was attempting to have a conference with his lawyer–logged into one of the communication’s providers called Securus Technologies. The website provides a Skype-like tool for video conferencing. The inmate found that his laptop did not have the necessary updates. He updated the system, and it still did not change the situation. The inmate changed computers only to find another snag. He was finally able to communicate with the lawyer, but both had a hard time seeing and hearing each other. It was hard for them to discuss the case while dealing with some of these glitches.

These types of issues have also been affecting families as well.

Telecommunication’s industries are also coming under fire because they have helped lobby certain laws that have benefited them. What some families feel is that they hold a monopoly over communication between inmates and the outside world. Some experts believe that this lack of optimal communication would ultimately cause frustration among inmates and could be the catalyst for even more issues within the prisons.

Another issue that is being brought up is the fact that many telecommunication systems can be monitored. Monitoring is a good thing as an inmate could be passing along incriminating information between them and friends or family. This level of precaution is acceptable, but what is not acceptable is the fact that communication between lawyers and their clients are also being monitored. This was exposed through a hacker who revealed that the rights of several inmates were being violated in a such away.

The debate will continue on and hopefully it reaches an agreement.

Record-breaking floods, in Rosharon,Texas, are forcing officials to evacuate nearly 2600 inmates from two correctional facilities. The prisoners will be bussed to open beds at other nearby prisons. Additional resources and supplies have been sent to those secondary locations to accommodate the additional prisoners during the emergency.

A centralized command center has been set up, in nearby Huntsville, to coordinate efforts against the rising floodwaters. Staff and volunteers are employing sandbags and other methods to combat the increasing water level.

At a facility in Navasota, the Luther Unit, a brawl broke out between inmates and corrections officers. The fight was precipitated by a blackout that was caused by the floods. The facility’s generator was engaged, but malfunction, leaving the prison with no power. The incident ensued when guards ordered inmates back into their cells when the power failed, and some of them refused to comply.

An estimated 50 inmates were involved, and three were transferred to area hospitals for medical treatment. Only one injury was related to the fight, that inmate required stitches. The other two were transferred due to unrelated conditions. None of the injuries were life-threatening.

Family members concerned for loved ones incarcerated at any of the facilities involved, can call this number, 936-437-4927, to check on the location and status of individuals.