Abused Inmates

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.


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.

Exorbitant Calling Prices Curtailing Inmates’ ability to Communicate with their Families

Inmate communications is an important aspect of an inmate’s rehabilitation process. Inmates who communicate with their relatives are even better placed to rehabilitate faster and to have a reduced chance of recidivism. Communication helps inmates and their relatives to catch up with each other’s lives.

Despite the importance of inmate communications, there are a lot of issues that face the industry. To begin with, many jails sign contracts with a single service provider who takes the monopolistic advantage to set high call rates. Users are forced to accept the burden since they lack cheaper options.

Another issue reported by pissedconsumer.com facing the industry is scammers. Apparently, some companies use the frustration often encountered by families trying to communicate with incarcerated relatives to scam them. The firms usually ask for high account opening rates and service charges. Even after family members struggle to cover the expenses, the companies fail to connect them to their incarcerated relations.

Another case involves dropped calls. When a call goes through, the caller may experience a call drop due to different reasons. In many cases, call drops prevail when one cannot be connected due to incompatibility issues of the communication devices. In such cases, it has been reported that inmate communications service providers do not refund the money charged to the caller.

Inmate communication service providers are profit making entities. Without proper regulations, they tend to charge their clients unfairly. In some cases, they have been reported to make payments to correctional officers to have their contracts renewed.

IC Solutions is a leading provider of inmate communications and inmate management services. The firm offers a broad range of communication services such as video visitation, account set up, and phone calls.

IC Solutions’ services are significantly cheap compared to other inmate communication providers. To improve their user experience, they have a 24-hour customer support center that handles issues on billing, payments, and opening accounts.

Read more:http://icsolutions.pissedconsumer.com/ic-solutions-shady-fraudulent-company-20141224574304.html

How a Podcast Helped to Expose the American Prison Phone Racket

In October 2014, an incisive new podcast reminded American audiences that radio journalism is still one of the most compelling mediums for news reporting, investigation and social justice.
Serial is a podcast that was created as a companion to This American Life, the acclaimed public radio program that also ran for two seasons as a series on the Showtime cable television channel. According to PR News Serial has been widely acclaimed for bringing out issues that show deep dysfunction within American institutions in charge of delicate affairs; specifically overzealous criminal prosecutions and the strange approach to under-the-table diplomacy during wartime.

During the first season of Serial, each episode briefly introduced listeners to Global Tel-Link as the provider of prepaid calling services from prison telephones. With about 40 hours of recorded calls made from prison, it is safe to say that Global Tel-Link was instrumental to the production of Serial’s debut season.

Shortly after the final episode of Serial’s first season, a report published by financial news outlet Bloomberg estimated the cost of the prison phone calls used by the Serial production team. At 89 cents per minute and a connection fee of $3.95 per call, Global Tel-Link pocketed around $2,500, although the company did not respond to inquiries by Joshua Brustein of Bloomberg.

Although Serial did not make Global Tel-Link’s exorbitant calling rates a part of their investigation, the company has come under fire by various news reporting outlets and the Federal Communications Commission. As a result, per-minute rate caps went into effect; however according to Al.com, Global Tel-Link and other carriers that provided phone services to the imprisoned have retaliated with lawsuits and excessive service fees.

Companies such as Global Tel-Link keep the lucrative prison phone racket going in the United States; perhaps this industry and its players could be the focus of a future Serial production.

Sources: prisontalk.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zs3WHNzOcj4

Defense Rests For Nine Officers Accused In Brutal Beating Of Inmate

Lawyers for the Riker’s Island prison guards accused of brutally beating an inmate in 2012, maintain that the guards were fearful for their lives, according to a report in the New York Times.

In closing arguments, the defense portrayed Jahmal Lightfoot as a violent criminal who had to be restrained after repeated orders to drop a weapon were ignored. On Monday, the defense rested without calling additional witnesses or hearing testimony of the nine current and former officers.

“Lightfoot is lying. He has changed his story numerous times,” said Raymond Aab, defense lawyer Eliseo Perez Jr. From the beginning, lawyers have stated that the officers were only performing their duties and violated rules no rules or laws.

Lawyers sought to discredit Lightfoot by showing videotaped footage of the incident and inconsistencies in his sworn testimony.

Prosecutors insist that Lightfoot was unarmed when the attack took place and the weapon was planted. They went on to say that members of an elite correction squad, led by Perez and Gerald Vaughn, ordered the beating because the inmate portrayed himself as tough.

Lightfoot sustained serious injuries to both eyes and still suffers headaches and other medical issues, according to hs testimony. He was sentenced to Rikers Island after being convicted of a purse snatching in 2010. He has since been released from prison.

Critics maintain that this is a textbook case of the problems seen inside of Rikers Island. “Violence and corruption is the norm at this institution,” said Bronx DA Darcel D. Clark. “Crimes committed by guards is our number one priority at this point.”

While Perez and Vaughn both retired in 2013 and 2014 respectively, the other seven officers were suspended. They were ultimately reinstated and placed on jobs that required no inmate contact.

In an unrelated protest outside the courthouse, gatherers demanded the shutdown of Rikers Island.