We have been trying to make as many prison calls as possible with our ministry. We do not just go out to the jails to visit people, but we are also calling in to talk to them when it is time. That is why we needed a good calling service, we spend time and searched prisoncensorship.com and corrections.com and it is something that we have trusted Keefe Group ever since we started. I actually set up the first account so that we could put some inmates on our list, and now Keefe Group helps us manage all the calls we make. We have all the inmates set up for the calls we make, and we have made it very easy for the people that work with us to get the results that we want.
There are many people who are going to have a chance to talk to us because of Keefe Group, and I know that it is making a difference in the world. I have had a lot of calls go through with this company, and they have made it very easy for me to get the results that I need. I have also handed out the information for the calling account to the people that work with me, and that is where we are all making a difference in the world.
There is something about how people are going to communicate with those in jail that can be difficult, but Keefe Group has made it easy. I set up the account in seconds, and I was able to use the calling account to make calls for myself or other people with our group. We get to check in with all the people that we work with, and I know it helps them to know that there is someone out there who is going to help them.
More info? See http://www.cdispatch.com/news/article.asp?aid=39055
When Derrick Schofield, the head of the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) announced his resignation, he unknowingly sparked a conversation about the Tennessee prison system and how it’s changed under his tenure.
Schofield first joined the TDOC in January 2011 after departing from the Georgia Department of Corrections, where he began his career in the prison industry. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Fort Valley State University and then decided to join the United States Army. After his career in the military, he later received a Master of Public Administration from Columbus College and is currently pursuing a doctorate from Piedmont International University.
When Schofield first took the helm at the TDOC, he began to implement policies reminiscent of his days in the military, with NBC News reporting that “The academy changed a learning environment to a military environment” referring to the TDOC training academy for probation and parole officers. Within the prison system, cell inspections began to occur daily instead of weekly, and prisoners had to walk silently and in lines when moving across prison ground.
The results of these measures seem to have drawn mixed, and often-times conflicting reactions and statistic from the TDOC, prison staff, and inmates themselves. TDOC data show that assaults on staff initially picked up in 2011, but by 2015 violent incidents dropped by 43%. Prison staff, however, came forward to say that incidents that should have been reported as violent, were told to be reported as ‘provocations instead.’
Having gained several critics and also several supporters, most notably Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, Schofield is leaving the TDOC to become a vice president at the GEO Group, one of the country’s largest private correction companies.
Louisiana’s state prisons are so overcrowded, inmates are serving time in local jail cells intended to hold prisoners serving short sentences or just awaiting trial, according to an article in The Intercept. In Louisiana, 75 percent of local holding cells are now occupied by inmates under state jurisdiction because they’ve been sentenced to serve time in state-run institutions. However, those state-run institutions don’t have enough room to hold them all.
In Mississippi, such state prisoners occupy 55 percent of the beds in local jails. In Kentucky, the figure is 45 percent.
The local jails are run and paid for by local jurisdictions, not by the state, so the state government must pay the local city or county to house their prisoners. This has been a financial boon to those city and county governments because, without the state prisoners, the cells would be empty. By leasing them to the state, the local government gains a source of revenue. Therefore, the practice is lucrative for the local governments, who are often facing their own budget constraints.
However, many criticize the practice because the local jail cells lack the educational and rehabilitation services that are available to inmates housed in state correctional facilities.
The Prison Policy Initiative just released a report on this problem. It turned out to be much bigger than they thought, Prison Policy Initiative Executive Director Peter Wagner said.
In Oklahoma, the state pays sheriffs $27 per day to house the inmates. For some counties, that is up to 7 perdent of their budgets. In some counties, calling up state prison officials asking for new inmates is part of their daily routine.
A new Justice Department watchdog report states that the U.S. federal prison system is spending too much money on medical care for inmates due to an over-reliance on medical care outside of the prison system.
According to a report made by the inspector general, the Bureau of Prisons spent around $100 million more than what is spent by Medicare on outside medical care in 2014. In addition, the report states that all of the 69 prison facilities have paid reimbursement rates higher than what is paid by Medicare.
The Bureau of Prisons purchases medical care for around 170,000 inmates nationwide, and has the ability to negotiate its own rates for medical providers and services. Moreover, the BOP is not under any government statute that allows it to set the reimbursement rate. This is part of the reason for the increased spending. The inspector general report concludes with suggesting the prison system looking into means of cutting costs spent on outside medical care.
In Movember 2014, Bastrop County Jail in Texas decided to do away with in person visitation and replace it with video visitation. The sheriff’s office claimed it was to save money and to improve safety. The visits now are fraught with technical issues.
Recent records show that only a few visits are logged each month, and all the money made from the video visits go back into paying for the expensive system. Visitors have the option of going to the jail, using the video system for free, or they can use it from home for 1 USD per minute. The Prison Policy Initiative, a group advocating for inmates and their families, claims that this system is failing to meet the revenue expectations.
Only 49 visits were logged one month as compared to the over 2,000 phone calls. The county jail has to pay Securus back for each unit they have. Unfortunately, they have only been able to pay for one unit per year. The jail will not see a profit until 2025. The jail currently earns 84,000 from phone calls in a year.
The Prison Policy Initiative says the video system is failing to make a profit, because it has too many technical difficulties. Also, the lack of in person contact has a terrible effect on inmates. The video visitation system could lead to more behavioral problems from inmates.
While the inmate communications industry has been under scrutiny for over charging over the past few months, one company that has been making positive contributions to the industry appears to be reaping the benefits. According to a recent article (http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/05/prweb13427463.htm), Telmate, which is one of the leaders in the inmate communications industry, has recently surpassed a very impressive benchmark.
Telmate, which is based in San Francisco, recently announced that they have gone over 5.5 million minutes of inmate phone and messaging minutes in the past 30 days. Making this figure even more impressive is the fact that they are currently only in 50 different correctional facilities across the country.
Telmate’s largest success so far in the industry has been the introduction of tablet computers in the facilities. The tablet can now be used as video messaging tools, which will establish a secure connection between the prisoner and the recipient of the video message.
The correctional facilities have stated that the tablets have provided a number of expected and unexpected benefits. One of the expected benefits has been that it has made the prisons a safer place to live. This is largely due to the fact that not as many in-person visitations are needed, which limits the amount of resources need to be spent in the visitation rooms and reduces the number of illegal items snuck into the prison. Further, the tablet system also uses software that finds unusual patters in communication, which can help to solve or stop a crime.
Correctional facilities have also stated that the tablets have been a great way to encourage good behavior. Some believe that having access to the tablet as motivation has likely led to better overall behavior in the prison, which has led to a reduction in fights and other outbursts among inmates.
Recent bad weather in Texas has caused a lot of issues for some local prisons.
Due to severe flooding, two prison units are being evacuated and bused to other prisons. The weather and flooding caused a large blackout within the prison walls. A brawl soon escalated between the prisoners and guards.
Upwards of 2,600 prison inmates are being relocated to nearby prisons. Evacuation procedures began on Sunday morning. Along with the extra inmates, surrounding prisons will be receiving extra food and water to help reduce the added burden to their systems. For the prisons that may still be affected by floods and heavy rains, sandbags and other supplies were being sent out. Ramsey Unit, a smaller, low-level security prison in the same area, simply had to move some of its inmates to the main building.
The heavy rains and flooding wreaked havoc on Luther Unit in Navasota, Texas. The prison, which is located roughly seventy miles northwest of Houston, suffered huge power outages. When prison guards ordered the inmates to return to their cells, some of the did not comply and a brawl ensued. The fight included now less than fifty inmates, but things have since returned to normal
The American Civil Liberties Union conducted a study and consequently released a report concerning the use of solitary confinement on female prisoners. The report made it extremely clear that isolation is a punishment that should only be used in situations where no other consequence will suffice. Solitary confinement should be reserved for cases where a prisoner is an active threat to the safety of other people. The study also shows that the unique issues faced by women put them in a position of additional harm than men who are placed in solitary confinement.
The report used recent data to determine that between 80,000 and 100,000 prisoners, both male and female, in the United States that are housed in solitary confinement.
The generalized effects of solitary confinement on the human mind have been well studied in previous years. Previous studies have also shown that the majority of inmates who are placed in solitary confinement are isolated due to behaviors that are caused by mental illness. Other studies have shown that being in solitary confinement can make the symptoms of mentally ill patients worse. However, there has been very little data collected that is specifically focused on the female jail and prison population.
Current estimates approximate that the number of women that are incarcerated annually. While they are incarcerated, women face problems that are gender specific. The majority of sexual abuse victims are women. Being in solitary confinement can cause those who have been victims of sexual abuse to relive their victimization. This is partially because prisoners who are in solitary confinement are watched on a constant basis, even at times that should be private, like using the restroom and showering.
Many times, women who are in solitary confinement are under the supervision of a male guard, without another female present. This practice directly violates the Prison Rape Elimination Act that prohibits a guard of the opposite sex from searching a nude prisoner. Even though this act is in place, the practice still continues, which dramatically increases the possibility of sexual misconduct from staff.