The Keefe Group Stands Tall Despite Accusations

The Keefe Group is a privately owned conglomerate based in St Louis, Missouri. We are involved in the provision of consumer goods, communications, and technology solutions to correctional facilities. We are focused on the unique requirements of the correctional populations and related services. We supply foods, personal care products, clothing, pharmaceuticals, and electronics among other items. The Keefe Group enables electronic payments and billing. We also manage communications in correctional facilities through ICSolutions, our telecommunications technology subsidiary.

We have over forty years serving the inmate population with custom products and services. We enable video visitations, supply inmate phones, process electronic collections, billing and payments including prepaid debit cards. We provide commissary and supplies management systems, inmate management, and financial services to correctional facilities. Our customized cutting edge solutions will satisfy you. Visit stltoday.com to know more.

The prison services business is competitive and complex. We are always working with people who would rather not work with us. No one goes to jail willingly. Our clients include the inmate populations and their families, facility staff, the federal government and private stakeholders.

Some strange things have been happening in this industry. The Mississippi Department of Corrections is discussing reviewing the no-bid contracts, one of which we enjoy to provide commissary services. We are not opposed to transparency efforts but this seems to be overreaching it. Trouble in Mississippi started when the former Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps was arraigned on fraud and bribery charges by the federal government.

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

As you may be aware, Chris Epps signs off on some of our contracts with the correctional facilities. Contracts that are worth more than $40 million. In a non-related controversy, two men in Florida claim our officials received bribes to allow them to operate catering services in state prisons. Other jealous groups out there are trying to get us out of our main business by putting forward all manner of unsubstantiated claims.

We have transparent systems that enable you to query and see your transactional balances in real time. When you are in the line of fire, you tend to catch a lot of heat. It’s the way the system is designed. Read more news on Tampa Bay Times.

Top prison communications firms make killing, while families are crushed by costs

Global Tel Link is the nation’s largest prison communications provider. Like it’s arch nemesis, Securus Technologies, the company has grown up over the last decade. Both companies have generated billions of dollars per year in revenues and both have changed hands among high-flying hedge funds multiple times in recent history. GTL recently handled over 300 million phone calls in one year and reported that it had paid out over $500 million in commissions to the penal institutions where it does business. The prison calling industry has become big business.

 

But not everyone in reaping the windfall. Throughout the country, there are still hundreds of thousands of families who are forced to shell out extreme amounts of money, just to stay in touch with their incarcerated loved ones. In one example, a mother of two was paying well over $2,000 per year in phone charges, so that her sons could have their father in their lives. But even after having paid so much, her children were scarcely able to talk with their father more than once a week. And her story is far from the worst.

 

In Arizona, inmates pay some of the highest phone rates in the country. The state average for outgoing phone calls is more that $1 per minute, an incredible sum of money, many times what the free market rates would be for similar services. Opponents of the current calling regime say that because inmates are literally a captive market, these companies and the prisons that employ them are charging monopoly prices, clearly in contravention of various anti-trust laws.

 

In summer of 2016, the Prison Policy Initiative and other advocacy groups presented essentially this same argument to the Federal Communications Commission. They argued that the rent seeking that was being seen throughout various states was extremely harmful to inmates and their families and that it was only being made possible by the total monopoly that the companies enjoyed on calling services within any given prison. The FCC agreed. It passed new regulations that would have capped all prison phone rates to just $.21 cents per minute.

 

Within hours, GTL and Securus Technologies were taking action. They jointly filed a motion for an injunction against the FCC in a D.C. circuit court. The presiding judge agreed that the FCC had hastily promulgated the new regulations, without duly considering the implications they would have on the market as a whole. The judge issued an injunction, ordering the FCC to show cause before the court. The plaintiffs argued that had the regulations gone through, much of the prison calling system in the United States would have been put in jeopardy, placing at risk the ability of up to half of the nation’s inmates to have any access to phones at all.

 

But hard-line law-and-order types, such as Joe Arpaio, have a point when they say not to commit crimes if inmates and their families don’t like paying the going rates. The hard truth is that, in modern America, no one sympathizes much with the incarcerated.

 

Inmates Staying Connected Through Telmate

The communication barrier between an inmate and their family is hard to cross when someone is in jail. A jail cell is something that an inmate will be in for long periods of time each day and when they are let out of their cell, they want to hear from their families either by phone or by visiting on visiting day. For those people who live far away from the jail, the only contact that they usually have with their families every month is by phone.

 

Being incarcerated in something that affects more than just the inmate. It also affects those who are on the outside. It doesn’t affect them as much as it does the inmate obviously however it is difficult for all parties involved. It doesn’t have to be however with the use of Telmate.

 

Telmate is going to allow inmates to speak to their families on the outside. Not all families are able to afford phone calls however those that can, Telmate is the leading company to use. It is the most affordable business out there for use to use when in jail.

 

For inmates, the only thing they can hold onto when in jail is the hope of getting out and returning to a normal life when they are released. If someone is not able to talk to their families, they will more than likely return to jail at a faster pace than someone who was able to stay connected to their families while in jail. Someone who is able to be in touch with their family while locked away is mentally more stable than someone who is not. They are in better spirits and are mentally capable to tolerate the inside of jail better than someone who feels as though they have nothing to strive for.

 

Telmate offers inmates a way to speak to those they love while in jail or prison. The person they are trying to call is going to have to deposit money into an account that is used to make calls. The calls are secure and safe for the inmate as well as the person that they are calling.

 

In Louisiana, Angola prison shows phone rates can work for everyone

Angola is the state of Lousiana’s largest state prison. The sprawling complex is one of the largest of its kind, taking up more than 28 square miles in Eastern Louisiana. Modeled on the Southern farm prison idea, the facility has long been nearly self-sufficient, similar to Parchman Farm in Mississippi and other similar Southern prisons.

 

In keeping with the long tradition of Southern prisons being self-sufficient, Angola has mostly grown its own food and covered its own costs with prisoner labor. While the practice of Southern prison self-sufficiency has garnered a great deal of negative attention for its excesses, such as those documented by Michelle Alexander in her book “Slavery by Another Name”, the system has some decidedly positive effects. One of the most notable is that many Southern prisons have had to rely minimally on taxpayer money.

 

This penchant for self-sufficiency extends into all facets of the daily operations at Angola. Prisoners are expected to be employed in a vocation. These include attending to the prison’s farming activities or working in the shop. But the prison also earns revenues from its phone systems. For every call that inmates place, Angola takes a 70 percent cut. The rest is left for the prison phone system provide, Dallas-based Securus Technologies, to go to operational costs and a small profit.

 

But even if such a large commission seems like an extraordinary amount to take from every dollar that inmates spend on phone calls, the inmates probably don’t notice. That’s because the prison phone system’s operator, Securus, has been able to keep the average per-minute cost of phone calls down to just $.15 per minute. At these rates, most of Angola’s inmate population can afford to stay in nearly daily contact with loved ones, a possibility that is much more than a mere convenience for the inmates,

 

One of the hardest aspects of incarceration in the United States isn’t the burden it imposes on the inmates. They’ve been duly convicted in a court of law, often for terrible crimes. But there are often innocent family members whose lives are torn apart by a father being incarcerated for a lengthy sentence. It has been estimated that in the United States there are more than 3 million children of prisoners who, as a result of their parent’s sentence, are being raised in single-mother households.

 

Sociologists have identified this group of children as being among the most at-risk youths in the country, for every major negative life outcome that there is. Without a father in the home, these kids are more likely to drop out of high school, become habitually unemployed and most tragically, pursue a life of crime, following in their fathers’ footsteps and ending up in and out of prison for the remainder of their lives. This tragic consequence is one of the collateral costs of a prison population that exceeds that of any other nation on earth.

 

However, technologies deployed by companies like Securus are changing that. With truly cheap phone calls, Securus is proving that the prisoners, their families and the facilities themselves all can walk away happy.

 

The price families pay to communicate

How much should one have to pay to keep in touch with the ones they love? Most people who live in the everyday world communicate with others who aren’t within walking distance via telephone. People look for the reasonable rates, and best quality service. But what about those who don’t have the option of choosing a provider with the best service at the lowest rate possible? How do they communicate with the ones they love without dealing with such high cost; like inmates who are incarcerated with no other alternatives.

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

The inmate call service is now a 1.7 billion dollar business. Big name companies such as Global Tel-Link profit greatly off of inmates and their loved ones. Bringing in 500 million dollars a year (aclu).. A company by its own accord says they are dedicated to providing the best quality service for its customers according to their L. But whom are they serving? On average the cost to speak to a family member using Global Tel-Link cost $1.13 per-minute. On top of that a monthly 6.95 service charge is also deducted from inmate accounts. The average commercial providers charges about four cents per-minute. The company claims they must charge high fees in order to provide quality service for their clients. But it appears the families are the ones getting the short end of the stick. How is Global Tel-Link able provided service for over 80% of prisons, jails and detention centers without competition? Global Tel Link offer incentives to prisons and jails for signing a contract with the company, basically the jails will receive a commission paid by the company. However it is the families of the inmates that pay the cost, depending on the location of inmates phone calls are the best way to keep in touch with loved ones. The high cost -of fees make this even more difficult for families to keep in touch with their loved ones. Visit Bloomberg to know more about GTL.

Due to the amount of complaints from prison rights groups and fed-up family members the FFC is now doing an investigation. Among their findings they have noticed that prisons aren’t picking companies based on the lowest rate but by the size of the commission they receive. With these new findings the FFC has since closed the caps on long distant calls. However, the costs for inmates who live within local calling distance of their families’ rates remain the same. Read more on nytimes.com to know more about GTL.

An Outstanding Business Called Keefe

There’s a lot to say of the Keefe Group, LLC., and the interesting industry they’re in. Not many businesses can boast of offering premier services to correctional facilities. Name two, and I would be surprised. This only means that the few groups who service corrections, like the Keefe Group, have a stronghold in their own markets.

The needs of correctional facilities are the same as for any self-sustaining facility and military base. This means that supplies and resources should enable administrators to offer as many provisions as possible and without having “a-lack-thereof” during emergencies.

But though Keefe owns such a large market, the bulk of their contracts are through affiliated vendors. Here’s how all of it works. The company first analyzes the needs of corrections. It then consolidates, through the business vendors it owns, how it can connect its supply to the needs of correctional facilities.

At the current state, the needs of correctional facilities are in technology and food products; special needs for electronics, telecommunication implements and personal care solutions. This short list is more exhaustive than it seems. When broken down as separate categories, the list is much more expansive.

Read more: http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/corporate/gainesville-businessmen-admit-paying-bribes-to-florida-prison-officials/1173073

This enables the Keefe Group to provide snacks, meals and even a nutritional plan for inmates. Those needs alone can be broken down further and to maximize what Keefe Group provides for facilities across the USA. What we eventually find are provision with inmate clothing, things like radios and personal hygiene.

This keeps the Keefe Group busy as you can imagine.

That’s because, unlike most affiliate associations, the affiliates that Keefe uses are its own. You can find each listed as Keefe Commissary Network, its Supply Co., its Access Corrections, its Access Surepak, its ICSoultion, its standing as the U.S.’s major food suppler and its Advanced Technologies Group.

The organization is nothing short of a strong monopoly but legally divided into affiliates that self-govern themselves under one large umbrella known as the Keefe Group, LLC. The leverage this group has enables it to provide items like TVs, batteries and even personal needs in footwear.

The group started in 1975 as a leader in the market of correctional organizations that house inmates and that are responsible for the well-being of the same. Read more about Keefe Group on Prison Censorship.

Connecting Inmates With The Outside To Reduce Recidivism

With contracts serving more than 300 correctional facilities across North America, Telmate is a widely acknowledged provider of communication systems for prisoners. Founded on the fundamental principle if serving and protecting the community, Telmate aims to empower inmates using secure technology and assist them in breaking the continuous cycle of recidivism. By ensuring that inmates stay connected to their family and friends on the outside, the company looks to reduce the probability of them reoffending.

 

Telmate offers communication services through the use of mobile phones, video visits, tablets, educational content, as well as investigator tools to ensure the smooth running of correctional facilities. The company helps inmates to educate themselves through providing social, legal, and spiritual content. This, in turn, promotes self-responsibility and reduces the chances of recidivism. This is the primary objective of Telmate.

 

Through the provision of convenient and affordable technological solutions, the firm is committed to improving the operational efficiency of every facility it serves. This is the reason Telmate places heavy emphasis on customer service, relationships, and feedback. The reason is that it enables the firm to reevaluate and restructure the products provided when necessary. This highlights the communication provider’s revolutionary tactics to promote the innovation of high-quality services.

 

The firm has innovative products including Telmate Guardian, a GPS-based service for inmate tracking and monitoring. Others include Telmate Cares, Telmate Fallen Heroes, and Telmate Heroes.

 

The service provider knows the importance of inmates keeping in contact with their loved ones, hence the provision of a platform to do so. Telmate implements the ideas of its employees to create new products, as well as opportunities for the company and its staff to advance. The firm displays exemplary financial responsibility through its fairly-priced technology that ensures no costs are incurred by the public.

 

Company Background

 

Established in 1998 as Pinnacle Public Services, the company has evolved over the years in response to the ever-shifting requirements of the industry for corrections communications. This dynamic shift prompted Telmate to focus more on the research and development of technology that will offer resolute reliability and security, as well as quick access to repair and maintenance services.

 

Currently, Telmate provides prison communication services to a wide range of facilities including holding cells, county and city jails, federal detention centers, and state prisons under the Department of Corrections.

 

Global Tel Link Has A Huge Class Action Lawsuit On The Way

There is currently a class action lawsuit against Global Tel Link because or the irrational rates they charge for Inmate Communication Systems otherwise called ICS. They charge higher than any other long distance carrier and these costs lay on the shoulders of the inmates, their families and attorneys.

Other claims against Global Tel Link include that they have hidden fees that aren’t provided up front, they add unwarranted charges on every call, GTL adds superfluous charges to reconnect drops calls, and have even charges for the same phone call multiple times. They are charging extra to take the customers money from them, while claiming that without the funds they couldn’t keep inmates and civilians safe.

Read more: http://www.globaltellinkreviews.com/

Currently GTL serves over 50% of the countries prisons. Their website boasts over 2,100 prisons across the country and over 1.1 million inmates. They have been sued multiple times in various states for their business practices, and they are being sued yet again because, despite the FCC regulations, they still will not stop charging exorbitant amounts of money.

The FCC has set limits on interstate phone calls to $0.25 cents per minute but never specified what the limits would be on intrastate calls. Because this was not made clear by the FCC Global Tel Link has taken advantage of this loophole by charging more for calls made within the same state than those leaving it. Watch this video on youtube.com

Families of those imprisoned in this country are unfairly being forced to pay fees for services that aren’t worth what they cost. There are no options for these families and attorneys to contact the inmate without being forced to use services by companies like GTL. Fortunately, there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel now that the FCC is starting to realize that what GTL is doing is absolutely criminal.

To participate in the class action lawsuit you can call 817-455-6822 or visit the class action news website. Visit Consumerist to know more.

FCC Caps Put In Place And Families Are Hoping For Some Relief

Families often spend close to $500 a month to communicate with their imprisoned loved ones. This creates hardships between the inmates and the families because of the expensive rates the prison communication industry charges. At one time, communications was a lucrative business to be involved in within the prison systems. But in the fall of 2015, the FCC stepped in and placed a rate cap on all prison related phone calls and stopped the add-on fees that was incurred on each call.

 

Families often went without just so they could communicate with their loved ones that are imprisoned. They had to make a choice between necessities and communications and necessities was what they chose to do without. The FCC manage to get the cost per minute down to 11 cent. But two major prison communication companies, Securus Technologies and Global Tel*Link, sued the FCC stating that the FCC disregarded the cost of providing the communication for the prison systems. This lawsuit put the rate caps on hold and the new rates wasn’t put into effect til 2016.

 

The co-lead for the Campaign For Prison Phone Justice, Steven Renderos stated that he was disappointed in the new, higher rates the FCC accepted. But remains hopeful that the new rates will start soon. This is somewhat great news because all calls made either locally or nationwide will be put under a standard set of rates. These new rates are still considered more affordable even if they are a higher rate than the year earlier.

 

During the same month that the FCC vote was made, Hillary Clinton had stated they would not accept any monies from prison lobbyist or anyone affiliated with the prison system. But before Clinton’s vow, she had accepted a small donation of $300,000 from a similar group.

 

http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/could-rip-phone-prices-prison-inmates-be-coming-end

 

The Complaints And Issues Of Telmate Customers

Telmate provides telecommunication services for inmates and their families and friends. There have been numerous complaints and allegations posted against the company regarding their services. One woman complained because her husband received a $25 charge for a three way call. She called Telmate and spoke to an agent and a supervisor yet was unable to get them to credit back the money. She had been connecting a blue tooth headset during the call and when the supervisor listened and heard her explaining about the headset to her daughter she flagged the call as a three way. There was actually no three way call made and she has yet to receive a refund.

 

Another Telmate customer complained because the cost of making a local phone call for an inmate went up 300 percent. She is considering making a report to the Oregon Attorney General because she does not believe that large of an increase can be legal. She is also checking to see if there is any government transparency or accountability.

 

Yet another customer who was astounded by the charges and does not understand why she is paying for a crime she did not commit. She understands her son must pay for his crime but feels charging exorbitantly high prices for phone calls to the family punishes the family not the inmate. She says it made her sick to have to pay a lot of money she could not afford just to talk to her son.

 

The charges from Telmate are high and have been upsetting a lot of their customers. One individual posted the following charges concerning voicemails. When you pay $50.00 you get two free voicemails, $75.00 gets you three free and $100.00 gets you seven free. The individual commented that $100.00 would pay their cell phone bill for three months and voice mails were free. This person has had troubles getting calls to go through and when they call Telmate regarding any problems are given instructions that do not work. This individuals final comment was that they felt like they had been robbed.