The Keefe Group Monopoly Exposed

First off, let me tell you about the Keefe Group of companies. The Keefe Group, and their affiliates, are the leading provider of canteen vendors services to city, county and state correctional facilities in the nation. In addition to providing food products through automated vending services they also provide personal care products, electronics, clothing and telecommunications and software solutions to correctional care facilities nationwide.

Now If I’m to believe in what I read on stltoday.com of the rehabilitative process of our correctional facilities, than much, if not most of that responsibility falls on those in charge being held accountable for their actions and those they hire from outside to provide for them.

If that responsibility involves giving contracts to private companies (such as the Keefe Group) then it is their duty to see that those contracts are awarded through a proper bidding and screening process – not simply to those embed themselves within the system.

So when I also see articles that clearly shine the light on corruption between prison officials and an outside private entity, with the intention of purposefully overcharging inmates to pocket the surplus for themselves later…I’m definitely thinking there needs to be something done to bring the hammer down . Not just on those within the system exploiting inmates for personal gain, but also those private companies colluding with them.

So why exactly is it, I wonder, that a petition addressed to Governor Scott in 2013, stated that the FDOC contract was automatically awarded to the Keefe Commissary Network, despite there being several other vendors who bid that would be able to offer a wider variety of items at almost 60% less than the Keefe Group.

One has to wonder…

Even as far back as 2009, a Pennsylvania inmate can be found writing in Under Lock And Key as to the need for the termination of the Keefe Group monopoly. Read full article on prisoncensorship.info.

 

Keefe Group Offers Quality Services for Correctional Facilities

Keefe group and its subsidiaries the Keefe Supplies, Keefe Commissary Network, Access Corrections, Access Securepak, Advanced Technologies Group, and IC Solutions has been offering communication services and high-quality goods to correction facilities since 1975. Keefe Group ranks as the nation’s top service provider for food supplies, personal care items, clothes and sanitation, technology, and telecommunication services for prisoners.

According to stltoday.com, Keefe Group developed the industry through tailoring its products, technology, and packaging to suit the demands of detainees. Every department at Keefe Group commits to the corporate objective of delivering high-quality solutions tailored to suit the unique needs of clients. Keefe Group commits to exceeding customer expectation. Through Keefe Group, inmates enjoy the following services;

  • Footwear provision
  • Financial services
  • Beauty Supplies
  • Snacks supplies
  • Prison Management System
  • Money sending to recipients
  • Video visitation services
  • Inmate Management Systems

According to prisoncensorship.info – a news commentary in the Mississippi area, the Keefe Group signed a contract with the MDOC through the Keefe Commissary Network. The contract commenced on November 5, 2008, with several renewals over the years. In 2011, the contract was renewed and will expire on 31 August 2015. Keefe Group paid a commission of 29.4 % to the state-operated sales authorities within correctional facilities to seal the deal. Keefe Group subtracted 10% of all the sales made through visitation bags. The contracts were signed and sealed by Chris Epps, the then Prison Commissioner. According to the contract, Keefe Group was responsible for;

  • Inmate’s deposits processing
  • Prepaid debit cards trade and prisoners trust funds processing
  • Total rights to market MP3 players to prisoners
  • Full rights to market music download at lower prices to prisoners
  • Exclusive rights to sell commissary items like food, personal sanitary products, and tobacco.

Cecil McCrory was the owner of G.T Enterprises before it was sold to Keefe Group in 2008. The MDOC Deal commenced on June 1st, 2006 after its amendment in 2007 to allow GT Enterprise to trade commissary items at the Walnut Grove Youth Prison.

http://kingfish1935.blogspot.com/2014/11/prisoners-are-money-keefe-404-million-g.html

 

COMMUNICATION ENDS FOR 1997 PRISONER.

It appears that a convicted 1997 murderer has finally been executed just a few days ago. Hit the jump for more. (http://www.jacksonprogress-argus.com/news/local/georgia-inmate-executed-for-police-officer-killing/article_c4ef04c1-de3c-5b2e-a232-e66764e3d303.html)

According to this online news piece, the state prison outside of Jackson has successfully, recently, and fully executed a Mr. Gregory Paul Lawler….who was sixty three years old.

 

We can see that:

“Lawler was convicted in 2000 of the murder of Atlanta Police Officer John Sowa. Lawler fired on both Sowa and his partner, Officer Patricia Cocciolone, as the officers escorted Lawler’s girlfriend home after a night of drinking. Lawler was convicted on charges of malice murder, felony murder….” (pg. 1, paragraph 1)

There truly is, as they say, no rest for the wicked. Yet who are we to judge in the end? It is not in our hands…..but both fate and time do tell all, and reveal the worst or best in a person.

 

The UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT has fully summarized the case, and has like wise analyzed the fact that the crime took place in Atlanta, Georgia….and near an apartment there, to be exact. It makes sense. Mr. Lawler was himself from this respected city.

 

Lawler took over a dozen shots out of his gun. There was a six hour standoff with Lawler and the police. A hostage negotiator was successful in getting Lawler to back down and surrender himself, making something which could have been far worse….far better and more easy to deal with. Justice was found, but the waiting and processing time would not be so quick. As we can see from this specific case, many details were involved…and Lawler remained in prison until his ultimate death.

 

Securus Continues to Expand Patent Portfolio

Securus Granted Patents

 

Securus Technologies announced that they have been granted new patents and more to come in the upcoming months. 36 patents have been granted and 90 new applications have been filed over the last 3 years. This new patents showed Securus Tech’s continued commitment to quality technology in the inmate processing and communication field.

 

Rick Smith says the five new patents granted since October 2016 brings their total number of patents to 248. They have 248 innovative and unique ideas that the government has granted them sole ownership. Some of the patents include: controlled advertisement program that controls what ads play on an inmates tablet and infrared image and/or videos in a controlled environment.

 

Rick Smith is proud of their large development team. 200 software developers, large research and development department, and 100 field service techs that develop innovative and cutting edge ideas to help connect inmates and their families. Securus holds a wide range of patents. Fraud detection, call platform architecture, call storage, and inmate purchasing just to name a few. They constantly strive to create top notch quality products.

 

Securus Tech is a Dallas headquartered company that works towards bringing inmates together with their families and helping the facilities. They hold an A+ rating from the BBB for the top notch customer service and quality products.

 

 

 

Global Tel-Link Charges Sarah Koenig $2,500 For Telephone Calls

The Serial podcast, see consumerist.com was one of the most famous podcasts in the history of the world. The 15 installment show covered a murder that took place in 1999. The man in jail for the murder is named Adnan Syed and the journalists driving the podcast is Sarah Koenig.

The final episode of the show started off like many of the shows before, with a collect call from Syed. Except this is not any collect call, it comes from a company called Global Tel-Link. The beginning of the call is painfully familiar to millions of people in America, it states, “This is a Global Tel-Link prepaid call from Adnan Syed, an inmate at a Maryland correctional facility.”

Global Tel-Link is the largest provider of telecommunication services to law enforcement across the country. They have thousands of private contracts to provide telephone calls to the inmates on the inside of these facilities as well as their families trying to call them from the outside. According to NY Times, they’ve recently made waves in the news because of an FCC regulation that they’ve been unhappy about and their obviously unethical treatment of prisoners and their families.

Global Tel-Link makes calling a prisoner cost prohibitive for many families across the country. This can completely remove a person from his or her family at a critical time in their life. And the lack of communication between an inmate and their family increases recidivism rates. Global Tel-Link does this by charging an absurd amount of fees, forcing families to open accounts with minimum deposits and charging mind blowing rates per minute for even local telephone calls.

To put this matter into perspective, somebody went ahead and did the math. Syed spent over 40 hours on the telephone through Global Tel-Link with investigative journalist Sarah Koenig. The telephone bill added up to over $2,500. Visit ACLU.org today and see what you can do to help.

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/global-tel-link-gtl-issues-inaccurate-press-release–securus-corrects-inaccuracies-300264749.html

Families Should Complain To The Prison If They Are Unhappy With IC Solutions

Prison telephone service providers (see, http://jailphoneservices.com/ic-solutions/), such as IC Solutions, provide a valuable service, especially since many inmates are incarcerated in facilities far from home. The only contact some inmates have with their loved ones is an occasional visit and weekly telephone calls. I never realized the importance of this contact until I read this mother’s story about giving money to IC Solutions and then never hearing from her son. Perhaps the son decided to call a girlfriend instead of his mother, nevertheless, IC Solutions should have a way for the mother to verify that her son is able to use the deposit to make telephone calls.

People have very diverse opinions about IC Solutions. A reviewer on Pissed Consumer tells people who complain about one dropped call on a cell phone should worry more about buying food if they are that poor. He also talks about calling IC Solutions back if the first customer service representative isn’t helpful. Apparently, some people believe that every customer service rep should actually help customers.

If you go by the RipOff Report reviews of IC Solutions that appear on various websites, people believe that the service they provide is too expensive and their customer service isn’t that good. Since the people using IC Solutions have no choice of an inmate telephone provider, they should contact the correctional facility, since the jail or prison awarded IC Solutions the contract. If enough people complain, the facility may think twice before renewing the contract.

Disconnected Calls

I’ve used Global Tel-Link before so that I could talk to my boyfriend in jail. However, the service that the company provides is not that great, and there are several other people as reported by PR News who complain about what is offered as well. There is a connection fee when you set up an account, and in most situations, you have to start with $25 in order to have money on the account to start accepting calls from your loved ones.
Another thing that I always complained about is that the company tends to cut you off in the middle of a phone call. You only get about 10 minutes for a call, and when that is cut short by five minutes, you feel like you’ve been robbed. Forget about getting any kind of money back for the call that was lost because the company tries to blame the dropped call on you or the jail, especially if you are talking on a cell phone. I don’t know how many times I have had to accept two or three calls in order to have a conversation. Thankfully, I had the money on the account, but there are some people who can’t afford the high rates who have a desire to talk to their family members. For more info, refer to this YouTube campaign video.

References:
consumerist.com
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/31/us/steep-costs-of-inmate-phone-calls-are-under-scrutiny.html?_r=0

 

Global Tel-Link: Another American Horror Story Of The Rich Getting Richer Off The Poor

It’s not difficult to understand that the families of people who commit crimes across the country are usually in the lower socioeconomic strata. There is a prevailing sense that if you are poor in this country, the only way you can make money is to scam it or steal it. Many of the people who try to scam or steal get caught and thrown into prison. But the scamming and stealing does not stop there.

You’re probably unfamiliar with the company Global Tel-Link. According to PrisonTalk Forums, they are a $500 million per year telecommunications company. But you’re not going to contract them to provide you with Internet service or phone. They only exist to provide telephone services to prisoners inside the prison and their families. And they have a bigger scam (watch this YouTube video) going than any of the convicts ever did. And here you can find the plight of poor families with loved ones in prison.

Global Tel-Link is the only way for these families to communicate with their loved ones on the inside. Global Tel-Link ensures this by getting government contracts to provide telephone service while promising that same government kickbacks in the form of commissions off every call. The price is then passed on to the families of the prisoners with calls costing well over one dollar per minute.

This kind of squeeze can really crush a lower socioeconomic family. Many families cannot even afford to set up an account with Global Tel-Link, and the unfortunate few that do have to deal with terrible customer service and calls that are often dropped. This is a stunning example of corporate welfare, where the government outsources services with exclusive contracts to make certain companies wealthy by ensuring a lack of competition. It’s just another example in the United States of the rich getting richer while the poor get poorer. Visit https://action.aclu.org/global-tel and see what you can do.

 

GTL Overcharging Prison Phone Calls

Ever since Police in Pennsylvania arrested Mr. Anthony Kofalt for failing to pay for 21 boxes of Whitestrips after walking out of a Walmart, his wife, Heather, has by far spent more than $3,000 – an average of $60 an ever week- only on phone calls made to prison.

Every single instance Ms. Kofalt recharges his calling account with $25, the GTL company running the system makes an automatic $6.95 service charge. Ms. Kofalt doesn’t drive and therefore is engaged in house chores. She is a health care aid and lives with her 19-year-old son, his wife and two grandchildren in the same house. This is all they have. The jail people are wronging them according to Ms. Kofalt, but the only ones getting the real pain of punishment is the friends and family members. Read more: https://consumerist.com/2014/12/18/long-after-serial-season-is-over-global-tel-link-will-keep-charging-inmates-outrageous-phone-fees/

It was not until the 1990s; inmates would receive and place unlimited calls to family members, friends, and lawyers at calling rates that were almost equivalent to calling rates outside of prison walls. But now as revealed on prisontalk forums, the prison phone call system is a $1.2-billiob-a-year company that is dominated but few monopolistic businesses that manage the calling rates and fees in exorbitant fees by the regular commercial providers of service. It is now the most considerable business – a 400 million jail and prison phone calls that came to a total of six billion minutes of calling in 2014 – that has caught the equity private firm’s eye.

After years of constant complaint (watch this YouTube campaign video) from numerous prison-right unions, friends and family members of the inmates, the Federal Communications Commission according to PR Newswire‘s report is set to investigate the industry’s financial intricacies, which has been unregulated for an extended period. The state and local prison systems will exchange their exclusive contracts at the core of the inquiry.

 

Keefe Group Involved In Corruption Scandal

The Keefe Group has been named scandal at the state prison level. According to cdispatch.com, it started when a pair of businessmen from the Gainesville, Florida were indicted for bribery. The two men openly admitted to paying bribes to state officials in the prison system as well as high ranking people in the Keefe Commissary. Keefe is a company based in St. Louis that makes snakes and other useful items for inmates in the Florida prison system.
The first man who admits to paying bribes to Keefe is Joseph Arthur Deese. He is 38 years old. He made a guilty plea to bribing James Crosby and Allen Wayne Clark who are both officials in the prison system at the highest level. The other man to enter a guilty plea is Edward Lee Dugger. Dugger is 64 years old. he is the owner of an insurance agency located in Gainesville. The two men formed a close relationship with Corrections Secretary James Crosby more than a decade ago and they used the relationship to commit their crimes.

Crosby and Dugger interacted with each other at the Police Benevolent Association, which is a union organization that represents prison guards, and other prison employees. At this time Crosby began doing Business with Keefe Commissary and so he introduced Dugger and Deese to Keefe executives. This is where the corruption began.

Dugger and Deese agreed to pay Jack Donnelly who as an executive officer at Keefe $260,000 a year from the profits they generated through their corrupt scheme. They opened canteens that would provide services to all the prisons in Florida with the explicit intention of overcharging, and hiding money to pocket for themselves. Despite Keefe Commissary’s role in the crime, it is unlikely to face any criminal charges because Keefe executives have many political connections in Florida. http://www.prisoncensorship.info/article/fight-keefe-food-group-corruption/

For more information about the Keefe Group and the services they provide visit their website at http://www.keefegroup.com and their vendor profile on corrections.com.