Recently, Sangamon County was in the middle of a heated debate on prison reform. The Sangamon County jail system have recently switched how in house visits are performed. Instead of loved ones visiting face to face through a glass partition, inmates will receive visits from loved ones through video screens while we heir loved one is one floor down in the visiting center.This video system is costing approximately $320,000.00 which is coming out of the inmate fund. Supporters of this change point out details such as: Inmates can receive visitors up to five times a week instead of two, and times are being extended from 20 minutes to 25 minutes per visit.

Detractors of this new system also have valid points. Inmates can’t see loved ones face to face. Even though they visited through glass, they were in the same room and more able to connect. With a video screen there is a detachment that can happen when visits are conducted weekly in this manner.The jail can make video visitation for those that can not make it to the jail system, but are not offering this service until they feel comfortable with the service. When outside video visitation is offered, it will be at a cheaper rate than the traditional calling. To read more about this controversy, please click here.

One of the leading companies in the telecommunications industry is the Keefe Group. Over the years, the Keefe Group has established itself as one of the more innovative companies in the telecommunications industry. What makes the Keefe Group among the top companies in its respective industry is its very reliable information technology solutions. The company serves a number of correctional facilities throughout North America. Among the services offered by the Keefe Group include tracking financial transactions, managing communications and also tracking the personal property of inmates. With all of these solutions, a number of correctional facilities have been able to manage themselves more efficiently thanks to the assistance provided by the Keefe Group. Read more on Prison Censorship about Keefe Group.

The first option that the Keefe Group offers to jails and prisons is the KeepTrak software. With this software package, correctional facilities are in position to more easily monitor all of the financial transactions of the facility. Using this software tracks the accounting, cash management and overall transfer of funds in the prison facility. Since correctional facilities need to track funds for operations as well as knowing where money comes from when being distributed into the prison, this software makes this task easier for the facility.

Another option that makes the Keefe Group among the best companies in its industry is the ability to track the personal property of all of the inmates. Since inmates receive items from family and friends, the correctional facility will be in better position to monitor this activity. As well as tracking the personal property of inmates, a correctional facility can also find and eliminate illegal items. Therefore the use of this feature allows correctional facilities to ensure that dangerous and illegal items never get into the prison. Visit stltoday.com to know more.

Like a number of other companies in the industry, the Keefe Group also provides correctional facilities with a number of communication solutions. One of these solutions is offering chat services online. This allows prisons to allow inmates to talk to family members and friends on the internet on a regular basis. As well as offering online chat, the Keefe Group also offers inmates with the option of taking pictures of themselves. With a combination of both online chat and photos, inmates will be in position to give their loves ones a better idea of how they are adjusting to prison life.

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In the state of Oregon, the Department of Corrections gets around $3.6 million annually from prison phone contracts. These contracts are said to be so exploitative on inmates and their families that a number of federal officials advocated for the state to scrap them. A number of officials from the state correction department conceded that these huge monies would soon dry up due to the huge pressure exerted by the federal regulators.

 

Stumbling Blocks

 

However, scrapping these contracts would leave the state with a huge budget deficit. Further, President Trump has shown a slightly lighter federal authoritarian approach that has led to the leaders of the state having a change of heart. This led to the shelving of the planned reform of scrapping off prison phone contracts. This is good news on the part of the state corrections department’s budget but bad on the families whose members are incarcerated. This means they will continue footing huge phone call rates that are artificially inflated.

 

Inmate Communications in Oregon

 

Inmate communications to their families via phone calls are at issue in this case. Inmates in Oregon State, just like in other states, can communicate with their loved ones at home via phone calls. These calls, which are made under strict supervision and are monitored electronically by private contractors, are very expensive. For instance, in Oregon, these services are provided by Telmate, which charges inmates an average of 16 cents per minute. Telmate, a privately-owned company in San Francisco, provides phone services to 300 jails and prisons spread across the North America area.

 

In return, Telmate pays a $3 million flat fee for the contract it signed in 2012, plus an additional percentage if and when it collects more proceeds from the calls than the projections in place. In 2018, this contract is expected to bring in about $3.6 million for the state. A high number of critics to these contracts liken them to kickbacks in return for a monopoly. According to Aleks Kajstura, the legal director of Prison Policy Initiative in Massachusetts, these companies are making insane profits. The current rate that Telmate charges of 16 cents per minute appears to be at the middle but it is still 3 cents or 23% higher than the amount suggested by the Federal Communications Commission in 2016.

 

Rejoinder

 

Liz Craig, a spokeswoman in the Department of Corrections, stated that there was no issue with this contract. According to her, the Telmate contract offered inmates and their families with a cost-effective method of communicating often while also allowing the prison officials to monitor their communication effectively. Craig further says that the amount realized from the telephone call commissions are put into a welfare fund for the inmates. This fund caters for drug treatment, alcohol, education as well as amenities like television and exercise equipment. Craig sums up the deal as a normal payment for services rendered at an affordable rate. She added that the commission funded important programs that benefit the taxpayers. However, critics maintain that these families already [pay taxes and this exorbitant phone call rates are just another form of taxation for services that the state ought to provide. [Read More]

 

Criminal offender recidivism rates are of significant concern. The reality is that a high percentage of incarcerated criminal offenders will commit new crimes when they return to the community.

 

One factor that is proven to reduce the recidivism rate is the ability of an inmate to maintain meaningful, consistent contact with loved ones in the outside world. The key way in which an inmate maintains contact with family and friends is through use of the telephone.

 

Historically, the rates associated with inmate phone calls were extremely high. This prompted the Federal Communications, FCC, to intervene. The FCC has an official mandate to ensure that telephone rates are fair, reasonable, and just. This includes phone calls between inmates and loved ones.

 

Overview of Inmate Telephone Systems

 

Generally speaking, inmate telephone systems can be utilized in one of three ways. They can be accessed with collect calls, debit accounts, or prepaid accounts. IN addition, in the vast majority of situations, an inmate has only one telephone provider available.

 

In the inmate communications industry today, there are only a handful of providers in the first instance. In nearly every case, an inmate service provider has an exclusive contract with a correctional agency. Indeed, there is one provider of inmate telephone systems that has a lock on a strong majority of correctional agencies at this juncture in time.

 

Action by the FCC

 

In response to what it perceived as unfair pricing by inmate telephone service providers, the FCC has started to take action against in the industry. The FCC has created a cap on the rate these companies can charge for inmate telephone calls. Although the cap was supposed to go into effect by the spring of 2017, it has been delated. The proposed cap has been challenged by companies in the industry. A court has placed a temporary injunction on the cap the FCC desires to put in place.

 

The FCC is diligently trying to garner approval from the court for its rate cap. There is no specific time frame yet set by the court in regard to when a final decision will be made regarding the pending the judicial challenge to the rate cap the FCC desires to implement.

 

There is a partial interim cap in place that has not been impacted by the court’s decision. The interim cap applied only to interstate long distance inmate telephone calls. It does not apply to intrastate long distance inmate telephone calls.

 

Fee Caps

 

In addition to attempting to reduce rates associated with inmate telephone calls, the FCC also has taken action to place caps on other fees. These include fees for such things as automated payments, which are undertaken at some institutions through the inmate telephone system.

 

Other Considerations

 

The FCC has also interceded to preclude inmate telephone service providers from requiring minimum balances on a prepaid phone card. In addition, the FCC now prohibits an inmate telephone service provider from placing a maximum that can be deposited on a prepaid card that is less than $50.

 

The Keefe Food Group is the country’s leading distributor of food products, hygiene products, electronics, clothing, technology, telecommunications and software. Keefe Food Group has been servicing the correctional market since 1975 and revolutionized the packaging and technology services needed by facilities across the country. Keefe Food Group is based in St. Louis, Missouri.

Two Florida businessmen admitted paying bribes to state prison officials and employers of Keefe Commissary. The two men identified as Joseph Arthur Deese and Edward Lee Dugger appeared in court and pleaded guilty to several charges including conspiracy to pay kickbacks to former Secretary of Corrections James Crosby and a high-level prison official Allen Wayne Clark.

Joseph Deese and Edward Dugger admitted that they created a business to provide canteen services for visitors across all Florida prisons. Both men agreed to pay Crosby and Clark nearly $158,000 a year. Their deal also included paying former Keefe Food Group president Jack Donnelly and another executive $1.5 million a year that would come from the profits they expected to make. Both men eventually admitted their guilt. Both Crosby and Clark had to resign amidst a bribery investigation.

The Keefe Food Group has made more than $40 million in gross revenue through the services they provide. The Keefe Food Grop earned a contract in 2008 and continues to be renewed as they provide numerous services including: processing inmate deposits, right to sell music players, right to sell song doownloads and the Keefe Group’s right to sell commissary items. Visit The Dispatch to know more about Keefe Group.

A five-member task force in Mississippi is attempting to convince the governor to eliminate many of the state’s no-bid contracts including those given to the Keefe Group. The Department of Corrections currently has six no-bid contracts that would be put up for bids if state officials accept the recommendations made by the task force. The task force has recommended taking over the commissary system instead of using a private contractor. The task force recommendations included agencies would have to post online an explanation of why it awards each of its contracts. Despite the concern that the Keefe Food Group creates, they are still providing services to prisons across the country.

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Global Tel-Link is a top company in the provision of integrated technology solutions to correctional facilities in the United States of America. The company serves 2300 facilities that house more than 1.9 million inmates. GTL operates from its head office based in Reston, Virginia. It also has offices in various locations in the country. For the years it has been in existence, GTL has taken a lead in developing innovative technologies that has boosted efficiency, enhanced security and financial value of correctional institutions.

Know more: https://www.consumeraffairs.com/cell_phones/global_tel_link.html

In 2015, Global Tel Link bitterly contested the move by the Federal Communication Commission to introduce fresh regulations aimed at capping fees and rates for intra- and interstate calls. The company claimed that these new rules will make the Inmate Calling Services (ICS) industry unstable therefore adversely affecting the smaller jails. GTL further alleged that FCC’s move will not only affect service providers but also consumers are at risk of receiving poor or shutdown of the services. The company was forced to seek the assistance of the courts in order for FCC’s directive to be quashed. Visit Bloomberg to know more about GTL.

Despite the fact that Global Tel Link seem to be at the forefront of fighting for the rights of the players in the industry, the company has not been spared by the wrath of inmates and their families who accuse GTL for high calling rates and unfair billing. The company continues to work hard in clearing itself from these accusations. In 2016, the firm was also embattled in court tussles with Securus Technologies over patent infringement claims. In the case Securus, which also serves the correctional industry, sued GTL for making the consumers believe that GTL has won the patent feud case. Securus was forced to issue a press release to make corrections on the press statement GTL had issued about the patent case. Read more reviews at globaltellinkreviews.com

The inmate communications industry provides a vital service to inmates and their families. By connecting prisoners to their loved ones by means of telecommunication, the industry provides a level of convenience that cannot be matched. Making time-consuming and costly visits to prisons hundreds of miles away is not a viable option for many families, and telecom offers a suitable supply of services for an increasing demand.

In addition, the inmate communications industry provides valuable intelligence regarding shipments of illicit narcotics into prisons. This assists law enforcement officials in interdicting illegal substances and preventing violence between inmates. (http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/securus-technologies-facility-customers-comment-on-using-technology-to-solve-and-prevent-crimes-300349185.html)

Every business sector is experiencing monumental change due to innovations in information technology, and the inmate communications industry is on the cutting edge of this wave. Analysts are even predicting that inmates may be given tablets in order to expedite vital calls by and to family members. (http://www.rrstar.com/news/20170518/tablets-for-winnebago-county-jail-inmates)

Voice Over Internet Protocol (or VoIP) calling platforms are also becoming popular. Boasting over nine-hundred features, Securus Technologies’ VoIP platform completed an industry record of thirty million calls in one month. (http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/securus-technologies-completes-an-industry-record-30-million-inmate-calls-in-march-2016-on-voice-over-internet-protocol-voip-securus-calling-platform-300274372.html) Because of this service, millions of families were able to stay connected through the services of only one company. As a whole, the industry is meeting the needs of a large section of the population: convicts and their families. The industry keeps in mind that those housed in the nation’s prisons are human beings with hopes, aspirations and familial ties. It helps them to stay connected when they are separated by long distances and prison walls.

Ultimately, the inmate communications industry offers an unmatched quality of service for less money than the government can provide, creating thousands of jobs and keeping love alive for many inmates, their children and their spouses and other loved ones.

ICSolutions is one of the companies that are a part of the Keefe Group. It was founded in 2003. ICSolutions provides innovative products in telecommunications to the corrections facilities.

The company is presently catering to over 180,000 inmates. These are located in more than 200 correctional facilities all across the nation. Their services are being provided in the state, regional, county as well as city jails all across the United States.

The company is making use of Enforcer Inmate Call Processing Technology. This refers to a fully integrated call processing platform that is SIP based. It is deployed in a data-center that is the Tier-1 type. This data center can be accessed by authorized users who can be at any location. Hence it can be accessed both onsite as well as from remote. The platform has been built on maximum redundancy hardware. The operating system is based on Linux. It makes use of DBMS that is PostgreSQL enterprise-class.

Basically, ICSolutions is making use of a technologically advanced platform for call processing as it offers unique capabilities. Its features, as well as investigative tools, can help the facilities to manage the flow of communications between inmates and their friends and families, in an efficient manner.

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

The Keefe Group is providing a range of payment plans along with calling options for the convenience of its customers. It also provided 24-hour customer service in which live customer agents can be contacted anytime.

All these enhanced features ensure that there is higher inmate calling. This leads to an increase in customer satisfaction and an increase in revenue for the facilities.

Keefe Group is committed towards the satisfaction of its clients. They have highly experienced staff. This is why each new installation is well coordinated. Besides, and each agency has been partnered with a dedicated account manager from the company. They are offering a network of service technicians that is available all across the nation. Next is the live technical support service which is available 24/7.

The company offers free software upgrades to all clients. This way the latest technology along with the newest features is always made available to them. Learn more about Keefe Group on STL Today.

The history of the penal system within the United States is not pretty. Prior to the 1820’s, there were few prisons or jails at all. Keeping with the British tradition, on which all U.S. law is based, offenders were either made to pay restitution, were subjected to corporal punishment, such as the lash, or were executed. Although these measures seem harsh today, they were undoubtedly a positive feature of a burgeoning nation with little or no ability to handle the vast criminal populations that our country is today faced with.

 

Out of the rustic traditions of the minimalist state sprang the first major cities. Before long, the population of the East Coast had become more urban than rural. Serious criminality began to impose itself as a constant feature of states like New York, Pennsylvania and the District of Colombia. It was from this cauldron of boiling unrest that the first real U.S. prisons were birthed.

 

The prison at Auburn, New York was one of the first designed to contain the ever expanding outlaw population of the United States. It was here that the famous Auburn System developed, a protocol of total silence, corporal punishment and solitary confinement that would dominate the U.S. criminal justice system for 100 years.

 

By the 1920’s, it had become clear that the Auburn System did little more than create even more violent and unmanageable criminals.

 

Today, inmates are granted near unlimited access to family and friends while incarcerated. They just have to pay a little for it. This has demonstrably improved outcomes, lessening reoffending rates and lowering rules infractions within prisons.

 

 

In one infamous jail, prisoners will now have the ability to meet face-to-face with their loved ones. Securus Technologies has announced that they will be installing their innovative video visitation software in the Maricopa County Jail.

 

The jail, longtime stronghold of famed sheriff Joe Arpaio, has become famous the world over for forcing its prisoners to wear pink uniforms and listen to Frank Sinatra marathons over the prisons loudspeaker. Arpaio regards modern pop music with rabid contempt and feels that degenerate pop culture is productive of degenerate people, like those frequently detained in his tent city jail.

 

Securus, for its part, is trying to combat a different kind of social disintegration, the absence of habitually criminal fathers from the lives of their kids. The company’s video visitation technology allows prisoners to stay in nearly daily contact with their families, for as low as 10 cents per minute. This has made a demonstrable difference in both recidivism rates and rules infractions at the institutions where it’s been installed. Inmates who are able to contact their loved ones daily are hesitant to lose the privilege. Inmates who have cherished privileges that staff could take away for misbehavior are more compliant and have generally better outcomes when released.

 

But, perhaps, the greatest beneficiary of video visitation is the children of the incarcerated themselves. Studies demonstrate that children raised in single-welfare-mother-led households tend to have statistically worse life courses than their well-reared peers. Video visitation is one small step towards the reconstruction of families torn apart by the intercession of the criminal justice system.