We have a ministry that does a lot of work with a lot of people. We are working with inmates in our area, but some of the jails are far away. They are so far away that we cannot get to them very often, but we do want to offer something that works for everyone. We discovered through correction.com that the best way to handle this is to work with the people at the Keefe Group. We were able to start an account quickly, and then we got all the inmates that we work with on the list to make calls. It is very easy for us to make the calls, and all of us have the same calling information so that we can check in with all the people that have committed to work with our program.
The program that we have has a lot of ministry that can be delivered over the phone. The problem is that we cannot give the ministry if the calls are not reliable. We are very happy with the fact that we are now working with Keefe Group because we have never had a call drop on their line. We make calls out all the time to talk to someone who needs out help, and the calls will stay on the line until we are done talking.
I feel very safe with Keefe Group because they have made it easy for me to make the prison phone calls I need, and I am very impressed with the fact that the company is able to make the technology so solid. We have been able to make the most of our time with every inmate because of the service, and we have been able to make calls routinely because we know that they will always go through.
Texas prisons are filling up with elderly and sick people at an alarming rate. And it’s costing the state a bundle.
One prisoner, 80-year-old Benito Alonzo, has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. The Henry Kissinger look alike is also undergoing treatments for cirrhosis of the liver and Hepatitis C. Dick J. Reavis of the Texas Observer interviews Alonzo about how he feels about being incarcerated at such an old age and in poor health.
Alonzo, an inmate at the Polenski Unit, is just one of several dozen elderly state wards who need medical care. He says his liver is in bad shape, and he’s been waiting since March on the new liver drug lactulose since 2015. “The drug can help extend the lives of patients facing liver failure,” according to Texas Penal System Medical Chief Dr. Owen Murray. Since the TDOJ has to pick up the $94,000 cost for a 12-week regimen, Alonzo says they will likely stall until he is near death.
Of the 148,000 prisoners being held in Texas prisons, about 27,000 are inmates over 50. Texas prisoners are housed at the cost of $20,000 per year. The cost for elderly prisoners rises to $30,000 or more. “Most of the elderly inmates have special needs,” said TDOJ spokesperson Robert Hurst.
Many of the elderly are considered a drain on the system. Many are not getting the required treatments because of the cost. Some are released after several years, but by the time they are paroled, the damage is already done.
For most Americans when a prisoner is sent to jail because of a crime they committed, it is just one less criminal off the streets. But when a prisoner is released from jail, many believe that prisoner to be rehabilitated and ready to reenter society. However, consider a rational law abiding citizen and how difficult hey have it dealing with psychological issues and they have the freedom to visit psychologist for help. So what did the prisoner learn in prison during their incarceration that would have rehabilitated them to a point where they are truly ready to reenter society?
Myles Hoenig suggest that criminals upon leaving the prison system are not better off than when they went into the system. Part of the problem with the notion that they have been rehabilitated is that the prison system in America today was created to punish the incarcerated, not reform. There are very few systems in place within the confines of any jail that provide avenues of change for prisoners.
Add to that, Americans have a preconceived notion that the minority lower class are the biggest problems we have with prisoners, contributing to the larger percentage of inmates when this is not true. White crime is actually higher than minority crime and it is only because of how the media portrays this in the news.
The biggest fear with an election year is that if Hilary Clinton is elected president, she does not intend to change or bring and new reform to how prisons keep inmates incarcerated, the status-quo will continue to punish criminals and not provide a means to rehabilitate. This will only increase crime rates and not help lower them. This will perpetually continue to release inmates back into society to commit the same old crimes they were punished for in the first place.
Ohio has picked a fight with a state civil service union over the potential statewide closure of tax funded penal facilities. The state has implemented the use of ‘prison farms’ for the better part of a century. Such facilities are an essential arm of the prison system in Ohio. Convicted felons are taught marketable skills at the farms, that will have been an aid in the turbulent transition from incarceration to free life. Prisoners and the civil servants working closely with them were essential in the projected tripping of the meat and dairy production in the state, after 9 million dollars in 2015 were funneled into the facilities in which they labored. The Ohio Civil Servant Association (OCSA) speculate the move may be political, after the state,just last year, invested 9 million dollars into prison farms in the state. Big food lobbyists stand to earn significant new contracts while slashing their competition. Closures are halted until mid month due to an injunction filed by the union force. The immediate shut down was deemed a breach of contract, requiring sufficient notice of any significant changes in the structure of operations. A spokesperson expressed skepticism that motivations for shutting down these facilities were safety related caused by an influx of contraband within the camps.
When it comes to technology, there is not a sector of the world that is not effected in some type of way. Even inmate communication is changing as a result of the variations of technological enhancements that are taking place in the world today.
The effectiveness of better communication can be seen in the shorter lines in prisons. People once saw physical visitation as the only way to see their family members that were locked away. The technology that is available today has made it possible to visit with someone that is incarcerated without ever leaving the comfort of your home.
The new technology that is on the market today is making it easy for a lot of prisoners to make better contact with their lawyers. This is working out better for lawyer s that may have a lot of clients to see.
The new technology that is on the market has helped a lot of people that may not be physically able to make it to a prison for visitation.
There are companies like Securus that have managed to become real leaders in bringing this type of technology to the forefront. It is through apps that have been designed by Securus that most people get the opportunity to conveniently hold conversations with family members at scheduled times.
The people that have access to Securus will often skip the in house visits and focus on the video calls. This is something that has become a real time saver. That may be the thing that people tend to notice the most about this type of new inmate communication. It helps more
people maximize there time, and it gives them more freedom to chose when they engage in the visitation. It is also a heightened level of privacy with these video visitations.
The California Senate Budget Subcommittee on Public Safety vetoed a $250 million county jail construction subsidy proposed by Governor Jerry Brown. As part of the Governors amended state budget proposal, thesubsidy will suffer the same fate in the California Assembly subcommittee, according to a published report in The Sacramento Bee.
The intended $250 million county jail construction subsidy supplements the current $2.2 billion allocated, since 2008, for county jail design and construction. Over 40 counties are constructing new jails, adding 14,000 beds to the statewide shortage.
Funding originally destined for county jails is now for diversion, re-entry and prevention programs, in an attempt to relieve severe overcrowding, that is plaguing the California correctional system. Legislation passed in California, such as proposition 47 and proposed Senate Bill 966, aim to modify prior drug sentences, to reduce swelling jail populations.
Californians United for Responsible Budget, a network of nearly 75 citizens, and taxpayer groups applauded the California Senate Budget Subcommittee’s rejection of the subsidy. The network is active towards pressing for the reduction of county jail expansion, throughout the State of California.
According to Kim Carter of the Time for Change Foundation in San Bernardino, “This victory reflects the power and will of Californians who are standing against more jails in their counties, but the fight is not over.” She reiterated the objectives of the coalition of groups, ensuring that state legislators vote against further appropriations for county jails.
A new bill has been passed by the Illinois state senate in its bid to make sure the main goal of prison facilities in the state is rehabilitation instead of profit. The News-Gazette reports Sen. Jacqueline Collins and a number of other members of the House sponsored the bill they feel makes phone calls more accessible to inmates from a variety of backgrounds; the local politicians detailed their reasons for sponsoring the bill, which included the overall feeling the cost of a basic 30 minute call was too high to be fair.
Many corrections officials had warned against changing the flat rate of a 30 minute phone call that is currently charged at $4.08, but the bill will lower phone call costs to seven cents per minute or 23 cents per minute for those making international calls. Calls to change the rates charged for inmate calls came after the state of Illinois was revealed to make over $12 million per year from phone calls in corrections facilities; this valuable revenue stream would not be lost in the eyes of the sponsors of the bill because more calls would be made at the lower rate.
The sponsors of the bill explained the unease they felt when discovering the charges given to inmates for making a standard call and did not know where the large profits made were being spent. Gov. Bruce Rauner was expected to sign the bill into law in the coming days after it was revealed the sponsors of the bill had worked alongside the office of the Governor when drafting the new law.
A recent study of New York city jails and prisons has brought to light a frightening statistic. While solitary confinement is intended to keep a prisoner from hurting themselves or someone else, these studies have shown that it is counter-productive.
In the recent issue published by the American Journal of Public Health, a study reveals that inmates who are punished through solitary confinement are nearly seven times more likely to injure themselves, or commit suicide than inmates who are not subjected to situations of isolation.
The study took place over a period of three years and was led by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The medical records of almost a quarter of a million inmates were evaluated. In the records, it was found that there were 2,182 incidents of self-harm related to solitary confinement. Seven of the reported cases were suicides.
What is even more troublesome is that out of the acts of self-inflicted injuries 53% of these cases occurred in a jail. Of this number 45% of these injuries were potentially fatal and occurred in inmates who were in isolation at the time. The majority of these inmates were found to have severe mental disorders, which was most likely what caused the behavior that landed them in isolation to begin with.
Because of the results of this study, the New York City Department of Health and Human Hygiene is outlining clinical management guidelines for jails and prisons to follow. These guidelines will hopefully reduce the incidence of solitary confinement and in turn, reduce the related incidence of self-harm and suicide. They are also making a recommendation to the state legislature to limit the use of isolation to specific types of behavior and find alternative consequences for inmates who are known to be mentally ill, or have a history of self-harm.