On Monday, the Commission granted permission to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office to make another purchase of 900 tablets for the cost of $425 each which will be purchased from the money that they made out of the first 300 tablets that they had bought a few months back. If reports are to be true, the county makes about $15,000 a month through the calls and messages that the inmates and their families make. The inmates are charged 40 cents for each message, $5.99 for half an hour video call and $4.99 for using a tablet for 24 hours.
Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones was unmoved by the critics on providing tablets to inmates for entertainment. He said that there is no system where the criminals give back something to the tax payers as they are the ones who use the taxpayers’ money to live comfortably in the prisons. He has worked with the department for 36 years, and he had never seen such an excellent opportunity where the criminals are able to pay back something to the taxpayers. According to him, this was the main reason why they chose to buy tablets for the prisoners.
The prisoners cannot access the internet and social media websites through the tablets. Since the introduction of the tablet, the contact between the jail staff and the inmates has been significantly reduced, that has reduced the chances of injuries. The tablet program was introduced in 2015 and can access special programs such as Intensive Treatment Program and GED program. Inmates can also access educational and religious books. Inmates can schedule haircuts and also seek medical help if needed.
Jones said that they would never bring anything into the jail to entertain the inmates. He also clarified that making money was not their primary motive, the safety of the inmates and the jail staff was.
The advanced telecommunication systems in prisons and jails allow for direct communication between inmates and their loved ones. The staff of correctional facilities can monitor and record such conversations. Most telephone systems in these facilities are based on contract where the service providers are required to pay commission to such institutions. After receiving numerous complaints from families of inmates concerning the high charges of phone calls, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) investigated the matter.
In 2014, they started capping inmate phone rates. Families used to pay as high as $18.00 for a 15-minute call. FCC proposed a capping that would make sure that the charges for a 15-minute phone call do not exceed $4. Correctional facilities and other law enforcement groups opposed the new caps. However, the FCC argued that the previous rates were causing undue financial strains to inmates and their loved ones. Some of the telecommunications companies retaliated by increasing their charges on local calls. This information was originally mentioned on Penitentiary Blog as explained in this link http://penitentiaryblog.com/what-you-might-not-know-about-the-inmate-communications-industry/
Advancement in technology has enhanced communication in jails and prisons where inmates can now easily contact anyone through emails, texts and social media. Despite the inmates’ limited accessibility to these forms of communication, there are concerns that these individuals can use such time to plan how to escape from a facility. Other people have argued that even though the conversations are heavily monitored, some inmates can use coded language to communicate. Many inmates might not use the phone too often. This is because of the high charges. However, the expensive inmate call rates are a small price to pay for an inmate planning to escape.
On the good side, inmate communications serves a good purpose. With the freedom to call anyone, an inmate may use such time to talk to those in authority. Richard Tabler, an inmate on death row, contacted Texas Senator, John Whitmire, to complain about how he was being mistreated. Whitmire used his position on the criminal justice team to bring changes to Richard’s stay at the correctional facility. This is a good example of how inmate communication could be used to improve inmates’ lives in prisons and offer them a chance to see the outside world while behind bars. This information was originally reported on Penitentiary Blog as outlined in the following link http://penitentiaryblog.com/inmate-communications-a-valuable-tool-or-a-dangerous-threat/
With the changing scene of communications in the outside world, it is inevitable that it would also eventually revolutionize inside the prison and inmate community. Securus Technologies CEO and Chairman, Rick Smith claims that their company can set up secure, controlled communications within prison facilities that can use customized devices, or even the inmate’s own devices. This will increase the ability for inmates to communicate with their defense team or family. It will allow for more training and educational opportunities while incarcerated. The devices can be locked so that they are only allowed to communicate with approved individuals or organizations through approved methods, including picture, video, text messaging, and emails.
They use a Wireless Containment Solution, or WCS, that controls and monitors all communications from the inmate’s device. Allowing them their own device gives them access to their own contact list and information databases. They can have controlled access to job websites, educational systems, and other web-based opportunities for skill and knowledge growth. Arguably, this would reduce recidivism and promote employment post-incarceration. It also increases their ability to manage their own health care. Law-libraries, visitation rules, forms, and facility rules could literally be at the fingertips of every inmate.
Here’s the article where I read this fascinating information:
Global Tel-Link is what some people call the AT&T of prisons. These guys have been dominating the industry for years, along with a handful of other companies. I mention AT&T because, like them, Global Tel-Link is in a world of trouble for trying to stiff the American people with their evil ways.
What do I mean by evil ways? Well, I do not know how much of this story has gotten out, but as far as I know, the company has forced unfair rates on people who just want to talk to their loved ones in jail. Think about that; these people might have done something bad, but that does not mean they do not have people who care about them and love them. According to PR News, these people are now being forced to pay a lot of money to communicate with them.
It seems like GTL was able to defeat the FCC, which really makes you question how much power we are giving large companies. I know that some people out there trust multi-billionaires more than the government, but I tend to go the other way around. Why would rich people give two-cents about the people? I hope that something happens so that we can stop this inmate communication company from taking advantage of hard working Americans who are related to people who made mistakes. http://mythreecents.com/reviews/global-tel-link