Prison News

Caught on Tape Taking Bribes, Two Gainesville Businessmen to Face Charges

By their own admission to guilt, payment of bribes to state prison officials and police officers in Keefe Group Commissary, Joseph Deese and Edward Dugger both pleaded guilty before a Federal Judge. Their admission involved details that they were conspiring to pay kickbacks to now defunct Corrections Officials, James V. Crosby and Allen W. Clark. Dugger had been an associate of James Crosby back in the days when Crosby was appointed by then Governor Jeb Bush.
Through the relationship between Crosby and Dugger and Crosby putting Dugger in touch with the Police Benevolent Association, a union to represent the guards of corrections facilities in Florida, Dugger struck up a healthy number of insurance sales to clients he added to his Allstate Insurance business roles. This was a beneficial selling model to prison guards and others who worked inside the prison system.

There is a fine line between ethics and special favors through bribes with products, opportunities and services as Crosby and Dugger found themselves too tempted to avoid when the prison gave them a vending opportunity for Keefe through an introduction by Crosby of Dugger and Deese to the Keefe executive board who made purchasing contracts.
The vending business was started in 2004 as Dugger and Deese have admitted to. The services provided snacks for prison visitors throughout the Florida Prison system. The favor was offered by Crosby and Clark so that they would in turn receive cash payments of between $1000 to $14,000 on a monthly basis. This sales opportunity was so profitable that another bribe was also agreed to for sharing with Jack Donelly of the Keefe Commissary executive board at the time, to the tune of $260,000 to $1.5 million annually.

All of these men have lost much over these charges as they were caught on tape recordings of their discussions of the details of these under the table deals, which were played back as evidence in the trial that took place in the summer of 2016. Learn more about Keefe Group, check out cdispatch.com.

http://www.prisoncensorship.info/article/fight-keefe-food-group-corruption/
 

Prison Task Force Proposes a Ban on No-Bid Contracts

I came across a report from a group that was in charge of reviewing the current prison system suggesting that the Mississippi Corrections Department should do away with the no-bid contracts. The task force that had five members was formed after a correction commissioner had been indicted on corruption allegations. The task force was deliberating various recommendations that it would offer to the governor, Phil Bryant and other law makers. Christopher Epps, former correction commissioner and Cecil McCrory, a businessman, had been linked to corruption revolving around prison contracts.

The co-chairman of this task force Andy Taggart, an attorney, stated that the recommendations were aimed at promoting transparency in the government. I learnt that the task force was trying to make corruption to be as difficult as possible. Currently, the department of corrections has a total of six no-bid contracts. Three of these contracts are held by the Managed and Training Corporation based in Utah to manage the prisons in Mississippi and two with Health Assurance LLC based in Jackson for medical services provision. The last one is held by the Missouri-based Keefe Group to offer Mississippi prisons with commissary services. (Read More)

About The Keefe Group

The Keefe Group via its affiliates; Keefe Commissary Network, Keefe Supply Company, Access Securepak, IC Solutions, Access Corrections and the Advanced Technologies Group is a leading national supplier to the correctional market. The Group supplies food products, electronics, personal care products, telecommunications, clothing, software solutions and technology to correctional institutions.

Ever since the year 1975, the Keefe Group has served the correctional market. It has been involved in pioneering the evolution of technology, products and packaging services. This was done with the aim of fitting to the needs of the correctional facilities found nationwide. It is committed to the corrections and every job at Keefe boils to the common goal of delivering cutting-edge solutions. These solutions are tailored to meet the unique needs of the market and satisfy it. View the Keefe vendor profile on Corrections.com.

This information can be sourced from http://www.cdispatch.com/news/article.asp?aid=39055

 

Securus Changing Prison Life & Communication Through Smart Technology

Securus, one of the United States leading inmate communications company, now has more than 104,000 smart units in service at various prisons. The number is quite impressive since the smart units are still in their infancy, but it goes to show that those involved with progress can really move forward at an accelerated rate.

The units are not only there to help the inmates make calls or receive them, though that is a big part of their function. The communication unit holds tablets, video kiosks, booking software, and what the company is calling an ‘S-Phone,’ which is nothing more than a smartphone. These tools are meant to function much like anyone would expect them to once one hears what they are, but there are some major differences. For one, each one of these tools are encrypted with technology that allows the company to give prisons power to monitor. Of course, it does not mean that communications are spied upon but rather monitored by algorithms looking for certain keywords that might signal criminal activity. This is just one security measure, though there are others.

Of course, security was not the only thing that Securus was attempting to provide inmates and their family. The goal is to give inmates and their families an opportunity to really connect in a way that was not possible before. Inmates can now share videos of special moments like a ballet recital or a birthday. They would have missed these moments if they did not have these technologies available to them.

The cost of communication should decrease somewhat since it is a lot easier for Securus to provide the service to prisons. It may be possible for family members to visit the inmate through a smart device without even leaving home. This means that they do not have to drive or take a bus all the way to the jail just to see their loved ones. Securus is really changing the culture within the industry in a positive way, and there is probably more to come.

Securus Technologies Excels in Innovation as U.S. Patent Office Approves Two More Patents

The U.S. patent office has issued two more patents to Securus Technologies, which is often dubbed as one of the most innovative firms in the prison communication industry. Interestingly, Securus Technologies has field more than 90 patents in the last three years. Of these, U.S. Patent office has approved 36 applications.

According to the CEO of Securus Technologies, Richard A. “Rick” Smith, the new patents will help the industry abridge communication gaps between inmates and their families. To date, Securus Technologies has nearly 247 patents related to prison communication, which makes it the holder of most number of patents in the industry. Both patents issued in June are multi-party tools allowing several users to use the system simultaneously.

Patent number 9,380,082 is titled, Remote Multi-Party and/or Event-Driven Visitation for Residents of Controlled Environment Facilities. As the name indicates, it allows inmates to participate in important events outside the prison facility through a live video link. As such, the system will help prisoners interact with their loved ones on important occasions including wedding ceremonies, birthdays, funerals and graduation etc.

As for the Patent number 9,386,146, it is titled, Multi-Party Conversation Analyzer and Logger. The system behind the patented technology uses the most advance techniques in signal processing and data-mining to detect significant anomalies in the communication network. For instance, it can detect callers outside prisons by matching their voice profiles to the recorded data. Accordingly, voice detection can monitor impostors and incidents of identity scams.

The CEO of Securus Technologies, Richard A. Smith, attributed the success of innovation to 200 software developers and 100 highly-skilled on-field technicians. Besides, Securus has a hard-working team of R&D and marketing specialists who contribute to the success of the product. Mr. Smith also claimed that customer feedback is always instrumental in developing successful innovative products.

The Keefe Group And Other Prison Contractors Have Profited Fromm The War On Drugs

The “War on Drugs” has been a miserable failure. There are more drugs on the street today than ever before, and there are more people in jail for drug-related charges than ever before. The battle against drug use is a play on words by the government. Nothing good has come out of this wasteful use of money unless the money that state departments of corrections make from the over-population in the prison system is considered. All the commission money that independent contractors pay state department of corrections should go directly to offsetting some of the costs of housing prisoners. Contractors like the Keefe Group and others have no-bid contracts, and they pay commissions for goods and services they provide, but the not all the money reaches the state department of corrections. Some commissions pad the pockets of unethical prison officials in many of the prison systems across the country.

The Keefe Group is broken down into several companies: The Keefe Commissary Network, Access Corrections, Keefe Supply Company, Advanced Technologies Group and IC Solutions. All the Keefe Group companies provide goods, food, and entertainment items to prisons in several states. The Keefe Group is awarded a contract without bidding against companies that offer the same services. The state of Mississippi is trying to eliminate no-bid contracts. The Mississippi State Department of Corrections wants all of their prison contracts to go through the bidding process in order to stop the unethical behavior that has been going on for years. See the Keefe vendor profile on Corrections.com.

The state of Mississippi is prosecuting high-level prison officials that have allegedly taken money because the practice of granting no-bid contracts was not regulated properly. Mississippi wants to hold all vendors accountable for where the money goes. Contractors like the Keefe group would have to file a disclosure form if money was paid to a consultant that helped secure a prison contract. For information about Keefe Group see; http://www.cdispatch.com/news/article.asp?aid=39055

Inmates Are Allotted Quality Phone Time With Global Tel-Link

Inmate communications is very important because it gives the correctional facility monitoring and surveillance over inmate calls and quality telephone communications to inmates. A phone call can determine an inmates needs being met or staying in touch with their legal counsel. However, traditional calls can be very expensive and provide low quality services. Global Tel-Link is committed to an excellency in customer service satisfaction. Each year Global Tel-Link is responsible for handling millions of calls for thousands of customers. Customers can rest assured they will get every minute that they’ve paid for. Advanced technology features gives you cheaper phone calls for inmate communications.

Inmate Prepaid Services

Inmates can now purchase prepaid phone services through commissary. For a small processing fee and a one time payment inmates can get set prepaid calling intervals that work with landline and cellphone devices. Calls are clear and come in the form of traditional packages that are affordable for an inmate budget. If an inmate is released before all of his phone time is used they can have $5.00 deducted for a processing fee and have the remaining balanced refunded back to them.

These services also work for their families. They receive one complimentary call at which time they are prompted to create an Advance Pay account that allows prepaid services. For a small time fee and a minimum of $25.00 you can get the calling services that you need. Global Tel-Link has teamed up with JPay to offer even more features at an affordable rate. Together they are committed to excellency in inmate communications. In a recent online article Securus has continued to praise Global Tel-Link for superior high quality inmate correctional facility communications. Thousands of inmates and families continue to rely on Global Tel-Link each year for quality inmate telephone services.

FCC Putting A Stop To Gouging Inmates For Phone calls

You have a loved one in prison, which is bad enough, but then you discover that you are also being held as a hostage because of the exorbitant costs of staying in touch with them. In today’s world, everybody is used to have a cell phone and the competition for cell service is intense. That is why just about any cell carrier will offer you an unlimited amount of call time for as little as $30 to $40 dollars a month. However, if you are trying to call a loved on who is incarcerated, be prepared to get gouged.

Over two million people in the United States are jailed in either federal, state, and county correction facilities. More than 12 million people flow through this system each year and what this presents to the private companies that control the telecom services for the jails and prison in the United States is a captive money making opportunity. But they aren’t the only ones cashing in on this because it’s a money maker for the correction facilities too. This all happened because the phone service used in the prisons and jails was privatized. This privatization led to revenue sharing agreements between the private phone companies and the state and local governments that control those correction facilities that they operate in. Ultimately the revenue sharing also provided very little incentive for the state and local governments to discourage gouging the prison’s inmates and by proxy the inmate’s families for the “privilege” of speaking on the phone to each other.

Because of this, the Federal Communication Commission has taken some bold action and ordered rate caps be applied on all companies that provide calling services for inmates. These caps are to become effective March 17th for state and federal institutions and June 20th for local jails. In addition, The FCC has also placed caps on local as well as in-state long distance inmate calls as well as cut the caps by up to 50% for interstate long distance inmate calls.
To see the full article go to News-Press.com in the search box put Tell Mel: Inmate calls too expensive

Four Months As An Unlikely Prisoner

Shane Bauer, a husband, talented senior reporter and loyal friend became a guard at one of the many private prisons that litter the American landscape – becoming a virtual prisoner for every hour he served in his undercover capacity. Bauer witnessed unsanitary, dangerous, inhumane conditions and found himself strangely uneasy in his own skin. Detailed in videos, photographs, personal reflective shorts and a telling and provocative editorial of his experiences, his story is as disturbing as it is compelling. Readers and viewers will likely experience the many emotional and psychological twists and turns alongside Bauer, and begin to view the population he spent time with as a bit close for comfort – regardless of the sentences served behind razor wire. The guards speak candidly about the inadequacies of the corporate prison system that result in poor staff which leads to a level of danger within prison walls that they must face every day they report for duty. Inmates express fear, anger, concern, pity, and bewilderment regarding the situation in which they find themselves – some even compare and contrast a ‘better’ state-run prison system, as they note that they are not getting even a minimal portion of humanity as they serve their sentences. Bauer even shares they plight of a fellow reporter who, as he is co-toiling on the outskirts of the private prison compound, is arrested and detained by representatives of that corporation – all to no avail – yet extremely disturbing, as is the telling of this four-month long experience in its entirety. Bauer found himself seeking information, assumed he could learn about the environment he would be a part of, if only briefly and report his findings. Though he was successful, in a very crude sense, his horrifying tales of his time reveal his permanent scars.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/06/cca-private-prisons-corrections-corporation-inmates-investigation-bauer

Dannemora Prison Escape Investigation Reveals Interesting Details

Prison escapes are the stuff of ledgend, and Hollywood is chock full of tales of remarkable escapes that ended well for the escapes, such as the Shawshank Redemption. But real life is rarely like the movies, and the tale of the escape of two killers from New York’s Clinton Correctional Facilty in Dannemora prison, which ended with one of the inmates dead and the other shot captured and spending the rest of his life in solitary confinement, has revealed some interesting details about the prison.

A report, as outline in the New York Daily Mag, released a year after the escape and recapture of the prisoners details exactly how the two inmates were able to escape the prison. The biggest key to Richeard Matt and David Sweat’s success seams to be the admiration and help of two of the prison’s guards, Joyce Mitchell, who was entranced by their charms, and Gene Palmer. Both guards were able to bring the men the tools they need to escape with the help of numerous inept and lazy guards.

Interestingly enough, one of the most unique aspects of the escape is that it was made possible because of the hobby of painting that the two men had taken up while in prison. Both men became exceptional artists due to the admiration for the art they had as well as the amount of free time they were able to devote to the hobby, and they developed fans. In particular, many of the guards and inmates admired Sweat’s incredibly detailed style of painted. Eventually this led to both Palmer and Mitchell smuggling tools into the prison so that they could hatch an escape plan.

The basic details of the plan are pretty straightforward, and involved using tools and makeshift dummies to escape through a series of intricate tunnels, but it is how they convinced the guards to help them that makes this story interesting.

Prisons Continue To Look For Ways Of Defeating Smuggled Cell Phones

Areas of the U.S. are currently looking into the best ways of handling secure inmate communications systems within jails in many of the states with high prison populations. The issue of smuggled cell phones has become so bad that a number of Republican Governors from across the U.S. recently signed an open letter calling for the Federal Communications Commission to introduce some form of blocking technology to avoid future issues with smuggled cell phones being used for criminal activities.

The latest state to discuss the problem is Indiana whose Governor Pence has joined calls for assistance from the FCC in battling this problem to create a secure system of communications for all inmates. Pence and his fellow governors who find themselves unable to combat this problem successfully are tied by an 80 year old law that prohibits the jamming of public airwaves without the express permission of the FCC, according to WBAA.

There are a variety of options available to corrections institutions that have been explored by many and even used in individual trial environments; the state of Mississippi has recently looked into the chances of whitelisting specific phone numbers using jamming technology that allows law enforcement calls to still be made when illegal communications are jammed. The main issues law enforcement feel could be aided by jamming illegal communications are the running of drug rings from within jails across the U.S.