Inmate Communications

The corrupt practices of Keefe Food Group

Keefe Food Group is a correctional institution and has been offering its services to prisons in Florida since the year 1975. Keefe Food Group is a subsidiary of Centric Group LLC. They provide correctional products such as instant coffee and a variety of drinks packaged in different ways excluding metal packaging due to security threats. Apparently, the company has been operating as a monopoly and have been reported to engage in corrupt activities. These include the lucrative contracts earned across the state and the entire federal system. The abuses subjected to prisoners and other corrupt activities by this conglomerate are known by many people particularly those who are attached to the system. The awful practices committed by this company under imperialism do not only affect the Prison Industrial Complex but other areas as well. Meaning, by going against the activities of this company or its parent company in the concentration camps can bring about a direct cross-appeal to the people who are fighting Wall Street predators in different markets. Visit The Dispatch to know more about Keefe Group.

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

Citizens in the areas affected were requested to prepare a list of all the commissary prices in prison together with any lawsuit or any documented report of abuse by Keefe Food Group. If the prisoners were able to terminate the ill practices carried out by Keefe Food Group in any of the state systems, details are required to know how termination was achieved. MIM (Prisons) were also requested to provide information about Keefe Group in their county and federal prisons. They gave an account on the same whereby they said that they were ready to collect information about the companies that are benefiting from prisoners’ oppression and Keefe Group is among them. They said that after collecting the information, they intended to launch a battle against these companies. From their findings, this is not an easy task because whatever is happening in this problem is similar to capitalism. Meaning that those who are not oppressed by the way the system is operating have their own financial interests and as long as they are benefiting from this oppression they might never go against it. Unfortunately for the prisoners, the people in the imperialist countries might not be willing to ally with them, and thus they will continue supporting the corrupt system. Read more news on tampabay.com.

Telmate; The Company that Thrives on Extortion

Telmate is a technology company that provides solutions to the corrections industry. It is based in Idaho and is used in thousands of facilities across the country. Telmate has received poor reviews from clients because of their customer service. One customer said that she failed to get phone calls from her husband and her son even after she paid for the service. She said that she is still prevented from calling them after adding her contacts and money to their accounts because of an authorization error. The system directs her to upload her ID, and this starts the process all over again.

 

The general response from many customers is that the website is confusing to navigate. Customers are recommended to set up everything over the phone. This enables one to be able to talk with a representative at the company in real time to ensure that there are no issues. Depositing over the phone is considerably better because one is not charged a service fee. Telmate has been called out for their discriminative terms that are very harsh. One of the biggest complaints from customers about their terms of service is the conditions of a three-way call. One customer complained about how they had been charged $25 by the Department of Correction for making a three-way call. The woman was speaking to her daughter. An employee of the DOC flagged it as a three way.

 

The company has made many changes in the past. The changes have raised the costs of using their services. Telmate hiked the cost of making a local phone call by 300%. This has been taken as a flimsy way of making more profits by extorting customers. A lady who identified herself as Andrea K said that she had made a loss of $180 using Telmate’s services. She loaded money into her husband’s account, but he was unable to call her. The support staff gave her several excuses as to why she was unable to reach her husband. There is a time that she was told that her card number was invalid. She was told that she had entered the card number multiple times the next time.

 

Telmate told the customer that her card was the issue even though she had used it in other places. She noted that the company still tried to charge her despite the fact that she was unable to talk to her husband. She was charged for a 3-way phone call yet she had not made such a call. Telmate told her that they monitored all the devices in the house to make sure that no other person was listening to the call. She questioned this because it was infringing on her privacy.

Global Tel Link: Prisoners Line to Love

Being in a correctional facility can break a person’s spirit due to homesickness and worry about the wellbeing of family and other loved ones. Keeping in touch with them at home can, however, remedy that. Correctional communications is a $1.2 Billion a year industry dominated by a few in all 50 states. With around 6 Billion minutes in 2014, it is a job for a big player. Global Tel Link, started in the 1980s in Mobile, Alabama, serves about 85% of the industry. Visit Consumerist to know more.

The company serves 2300 facilities and 1.9 Million inmates in 50 states and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. It is now controlled by private equity firms. GTL prides itself in provision of correctional technology and government payment services with a visionary solution and customized products to fit the unique needs of clients. They invest time, energy and resources to understand the challenges faced in correctional facilities. I am glad that the company has a history of providing the best products and has been at the forefront of an evolving correctional market.

Know more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-12-17/serial-podcasts-2-500-phone-bill-and-the-prison-pay-phone-racket

Better Rates

Global Tel Link advocates for a balanced approach towards call rates in correctional facilities. The company hopes the Federal Communications Commission will utilize cost studies provided by facility administration to come up with sustainable and fair rates. Most recently Global Tel Link released the Offender Management System Version 5.4 with further technological advancements in a bid to improve the already great quality of services they provide. Read more on PRNewsWire.com.

Conclusion

Global Tel Link is PCI compliant to protect sensitive information and has never, either it or its subsidiaries, been prosecuted for fraud, deceit or activities outside the law. The company also employs knowledgeable and responsive tech support working around the clock across all GTL products. Clients can, therefore, rest easy as they will receive services from a company with integrity and ethics as its pillars.

Telmate Communications – Exploiting the Customers with Poor Technology and Customer Service

Telmate Communications is regarded as one of the leading companies in the field of inmate communications. The company started operations in the year 1998 under the name Pinnacle Public Services as an ancillary firm for other major inmate communications service providers. However, in due course, the management realized that there is a significant void in the sector for a comprehensive service provider that offers advanced technological solutions in the inmate communications and criminal justice field.

However, the company even after starting off well in the first few years have become a negative talking point in the inmate communication industry as of now. It is mostly because the company has not been able to keep pace with other enterprises in the field who are providing far better technology and services at much cheaper rates. The customers who are using the Telmate Communications services are thinking of switching to other providers, and considerable size of the customer base of the company has already made the switch. The complaints against the company are increasing with every passing day, and more and more people are raising their voices and concerns regarding how they believe the company has exploited them.

One of the common problems that most of the customers are facing is the long waits when calling the customer service, and not getting the refunds as promised. When the customers provide valid reason and evidence that ensures they should get their refunds, the customer service does mention that it would be paid for a few days or a week’s time, but the refunds never come. The customers are not able to make calls from their fully credited phones, and every time an inmate tries to call, the IVR asks to put in more money. The customer service of Telmate Communications has become highly irresponsive, and many customers have even reported that the customer service representatives of the company were rude with them.

Many customers have filed legal complaints against the company, who continues to make millions of dollars in profits by exploiting its customer base. I sincerely hope the company takes notes of the many grievances that are posted online so that the customers can talk to their loved ones without hassles.

 

Inmates to Feel the Touch of Tablets in Winnebago County Jail

It’s customary for prisoners to poses only, the necessities required in prison. The basics include jumpsuits, towels, and sandals for those in Winnebago County Jail. But today, according to the jail superintendent Bob Redmond, the future calls for changes. The inmates, therefore, stand the chance of receiving tablets. As a matter of fact, he has already contacted the tablet vendors. The move to issue tablets to the inmates rose after a tender with an inmate telephone service provider; Legacy Inmate Communications got terminated. The tender got terminated after a unanimous vote by the County Public Safety Committee. The terminated tender allowed the company to charge inmates a cost of 55cents for local calls and 21 cents for interstate calls.

 

The revenue generated got shared with the county. However, Legacy Inmate Communications was two months behind schedule in payment. Additionally, Redmond said that the company failed to keep all the phones functional. The company got awarded with the termination letters with a three months’ notice. There was a case where all phones in one pod failed. Therefore, as it is a right for the inmates to make phone calls, more guards got requested to escort the prisoners to different sections with working phones.

 

According to Redmond, trouble arises when only one phone is working in the pod. Issues occur when inmates take too long on the phone and while others are unable to make calls at specific times. Therefore, bringing wireless tablets ensures the risk to guards gets minimized. However, the tablets employ the prison standards ensuring they are rugged and secure. The tablets exhibit no social media capabilities and cannot access the internet. Inmate calling services are offered by two major companies in the USA. They include Securus Technologies and GTL Technologies who also have had a share of criticism directed to them for exploiting innmates

 

Securus Technologies – connecting inmates to their families

http://www.ibtimes.com/why-prison-phone-rates-keep-going-even-though-fcc-regulated-them-2388200

 

In the fall of 2015 The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) tried to put into act a form of rate caps on the price for incoming calls to inmates. The averaged rate per minute for a family member or loved one to call someone in prison is about a dollar a minute. Prison communications are outsourced to private firms. There are about 2.2 million inmates in America at any given time. Monopoly style contracts that cut deals with local sheriffs offices with little government involvement is what causes these inflated prices. In June of 2016, after a decrease in prices the previous fall, prices were on the rise again. Many family members or loved ones who are trying to call in to speak to inmates are on fixed incomes. The cost of the phone call can end up costing them the same as the cost of gas if they were able to drive in for a visit. Though the Federal communications commission was able to implement a rate cap on calls out of state, they have not implemented one for in state calling. In some cases it may be cheaper for an inmate to call a relative out of state. In state phone calls can be priced at any rate the communications provider and sheriffs deems appropriate. Securus Technologies is currently the largest inmate calling provider in the United States.

 

Keefe Group: Pioneering Service Delivery in Correctional Industry

Following its founding in 1975, Keefe Group embarked on an aggressive campaign aimed at tapping into a market that many companies had not ventured before: the American correctional facilities. It was a blue business strategy geared towards identifying opportunities that exist in the market and creating demand rather than fighting for demand in an already crowded mainstream American market place. The correctional facilities provided the company with a unique business opportunity marked by a stable market and almost zero competition. This niche market enabled the company to grow in revenue, profit margins and most significantly, in stature as one of the largest companies in the United States. Over time, the company adopted a strategic operational approach aimed at customizing their products and services to meet the ever growing demand from their clients.

Company Profile: Meeting Customer Demands Through Customer-Centered Strategies

During its over four decades of operations, Keefe Group has carved a name for itself as a champion of efficiency and customized service delivery within the American prison industry complex. Their customer-centered focus enables the company meet the unique demands of their numerous customers spread across various correctional facilities in the United States. As an industry pioneer, the company pride itself as the leading supplier of personal and beauty care products, clothing, footwear and jewelry for inmates. Based in St. Louis, Missouri, the company is also the leading supplier of food products to the correctional facilities with numerous brands of food and snacks to its name. Read more about Keefe Group on cdispatch.com.

By expanding its operations through new subsidiaries and affiliates, Keefe Group managed to add new products and services to its already burgeoning portfolio. The new entities allowed the company to supply other new and unique services such as cable news, games, telecommunication services as well as various technologies to inmates. The company also offers financial management services to its clients

Challenges

As the pioneer in the industry with a strong reputation and history of quality service delivery in a market with few competitors, Keefe Group’s position as the market leader strategically positions it as the leading contender for tenders. However, the company’s almost monopolistic presence in market has been challenged by authorities, individuals and competitors. This has seen some of the tenders it was awarded opened for competitive bidding. Several allegations of poor customer service and corruption have also been leveled against the company. Read more news on Tampa Bay Times.

The Fraudulent Global Tel-Link

Global Tel-Link is a phone company that allows prisoners to communicate with the world. However, its customers complain of hidden fees and rates higher than other companies offer. Some tricks the company uses are 1) letting the phone bill the account before the call is picked up, 2) adding illegal surcharges to phone calls, 3) dropping calls in order to charge a second fee for reconnecting them, and 4) billing one call multiple times. Then, the intrastate calling rates are said to be too high. And GTL is expensive in the first place without all this unfairness. Read more on NYTimes to know more about GTL.

GTL reports that it serves over 2,100 facilities in the 50 states, 27 Department of Correction contracts in more than 800 counties, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Yet it has a history of illegal billing practices nationwide. New Jersey and Pennsylvania have even taken out class actions against GTL. How much longer will the government tolerate the company’s abuses? Watch this video about GTL on youtube.com

If you are using a phone to connect with someone in any of the following Californian jails, know that the servicing company is GTL. The jails are California DOC, Atwater USP, Coalinga Claremont Custody Center, Alameda County Jail, Alameda County Juvenile Justice Center, Contra Costa County, El Dorado County, Dublin FCI, Glenn County Sheriff Department, Hayward City Jail, Herlong FCI, Humbolt County, Imperial County, Kern County, Lompoc USP, Los Angeles MDC, Los Angeles County, Lake County Jail, Lake County Juvenile Home, Los Angeles Police Department, Mendota FCI, Marin County Jail, Marin County Probation, Placer County, Orange County, Riverside County Jail, San Benito County, San Bernadino County Juvenile, San Diego MCC, San Francisco County Jail, Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, San Joaquin County Juvenile Detention, San Luis Obispo County, Shaffer Community Correctional, Shasta County, Siskiyou County Jail, Solano Probation Juvenile Hall, Solano County, Sonoma County, Stanislaus County, Stanislaus County Juvenile Hall, Terminal Island FCI, Tehama County Jail, USMC Camp Pendleton Brig, Tulare County, Victorville USP, Yolo County Jail, Yuba County Jail, Ventura County CA-Juvenile Probation, and Ventura County Jail. My information for this article comes from https://cases.theclassactionnews.com/global-tel-link-prison-collect-calls/.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9leDabb7wBI

Knox County Commission Expands The Use Of Tablets For Prisoners

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.

 

Inmate Communication Is Beneficial To Inmates And Their Loved Ones

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/