Is it true prisoners are money? Find out how much Keefe Group makes from prisoners

Keefe Group is an associate of Keefe Supply Company, advanced technologies group, access corrections, ICSolutions and Keefe Commissary Network. They are the main providers of food items, hardware, programming and telecommunication arrangements, individual care items, technology, and clothing to the correction facilities. Keefe Group has been putting forth these administrations since 1975. They spearheaded the development of correction products bundling and technologies to fit the requirements of all prisons in the nation.

Their objective and responsibility

Keefe Group guarantees that all their efforts come down to one goal, conveying quality and proficient administrations surrounding your own needs. They ensure that customers are constantly 100% happy with their policies. Their telephone lines are constantly open, you can reach them if you require knowing more about them. Read more news on tampabay.com.

Items and services that they offer

Footwear items for detainees, telephone call services to prisoners, video calls for an inmate, and commercial services, for example like sending cash to inmates, banking, and distributing services to customers, health management services, TV and cable services, among others.

How much does Keefe Group earn from prisoners

According to contracts and payment records that were obtained through a public records request, Keefe received over forty million dollars in gross revenue. The fees were paid to Keefe Commissary Network for MDOC inmate services. The contract was valid from 5 November 2008 and has been renewed multiple times. The last time it was renewed was in 2011, and it expired on 31 August 2015. Chris Epps, the former commissioner, signed all contracts.

Visit: https://www.kununu.com/us/keefe-group

The services KEEFE is responsible for

  • preparing detainee deposits
  • Offer of prepaid debit cards and handling of inmate trust funds
  • They offer music players (MP3) to prisoners, $115, and sales tax. MDOC gets $15 per player sold.
  • They have the rights to offer tune downloads. The cost to the prisoner is $1.70 per download. MDOC gets $0.10 per download.
  • They have the right to provide commissary things, for example, foodstuffs, individual hygiene items, tobacco, and different things. Keefe paid a sales commission rate of 29.4% at state-worked prisons and 24% at private-worked state inmate facilities. Keefe likewise deducted 10% of aggregate sales sum for all “visitation sacks” sold every month. Read more articles on Blogspot about Keefe Group.

Too Much Money For A Few Minutes

One of the complaints that I have about Global Tel is that it’s a company used by prisons so that the prison can make money. Prisons that use this company get a kickback from the money that is made from each call. It’s no wonder my rate is as high as it is at $5. It means that I have to allow for one or two calls a week from my husband because I simply don’t have the extra money to put on my account. Prisons should use companies that are willing to understand the needs of families instead of those that are simply trying to make a profit. Read more about GTL on Bloomberg.com.

I can have money on my account and still get nowhere with the calls that I receive. There have been times when my husband has called and the call is dropped only five minutes into the conversation. Thinking that I can accept another call, I am disappointed when I find out that the amount for the entire call is taken off of my account. This means that I no longer have those funds to use and don’t get to talk to my husband anymore that week. Read more on NYTimes to know more about GTL.

When I don’t have money on my account, there’s no way to know whether or not my husband is alright. I have to wait to get a letter. There are times when the letters that I send don’t get to my husband until a few days after they are delivered by mail. I worry about him most on the days when I can’t talk to him because Global Tel Link chooses to charge too much money. When I contact Global Tel, I’m out through to the worst customer service representatives ever who don’t know anything about the services that the company offers. I’m told something different every time I call the company. It’s a company that decides to charge whatever it wants and doesn’t care about anything else.

Read more: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/global-tel-link-gtl-issues-inaccurate-press-release–securus-corrects-inaccuracies-300264749.html

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.

 

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.

 

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.

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

 

Global Tel-Link Dominates the Prison Phone Industry

The prison phone industry generates more than $1 billion on an annual basis. It is no surprise that new companies are popping up every day in an attempt to get a piece of this very lucrative pie. The company that has risen above all others to become the titan of prison phone providers is Global Tel-Link. Many people are curious how this company has managed to rise above all of their competitors and thoroughly dominate them. After all, it is not like the phone service they are providing to prisons is so much better than what their competitors are offering.

According to Yelp, one of the reasons that Global Tel-Link has risen so rapidly over a relatively short period of time involves their political connections. It helps if you know people in very high places. The company has no shortage of elected officials who are always willing to lend a helping hand to the prison phone provider. Why are these politicians so eager to help Global Tel-Link when they are in need? The answer is very simple. Based on mythreecents.com review, these politicians receive very healthy campaign contributions from Global Tel-Link before every one of their reelection campaigns. Therefore, the politicians know that they must do the bidding of Global Tel-Link if they want to keep the campaign contributions rolling in on a regular basis.

Having politicians on their side also helped Global Tel Link to get contracts for many large prisons that are worth a small fortune. There is supposed to be a fair and non-partial bidding process to determine how all of the prison phone service contracts are awarded. However, Global Tel-Link easily gets around that process by greasing some palms and arranging the outcome of the game before it is even played. This is how they operate. They have no morals. All they care about is money.

https://topclassactions.com/lawsuit-settlements/lawsuit-news/58518-global-tellink-class-action-claims-unfair-rates-inmates/

The Keefe Group Corners the Inmate Commissary Market

The Keefe Group operates through a number of different affiliates. These enterprises include Keefe Supply Company, Keefe Commissary Network, Access Securepak, Access Corrections, ICSolutions and Advanced Technologies Group.

The Keefe Group is ranked as the leading supplier of food products, technology, personal care products, clothing, electronics, telecommunications and software solutions operating in the correctional marketplace in the United States today.

Beginning in 1975, the Keefe Group serviced the correctional market in a number of different ways. The company provides its services to a majority of correctional institutions in the United States today. This includes correctional institutions on the local, state, and federal level in the United States.

When it comes to commissary or canteen services for inmates, the Keefe Group enters into exclusive agreements with correctional agencies and institutions. Through these agreements, the Keefe Group becomes to the sole provider of commissary services at a correctional institution.

According to KingFish, as a result of the Keefe Group being the sole provider of commissary services at a particular institution, the company is able to name its own price when it comes to the products sold to inmates. Inmates have no ability to negotiate a better, more appropriate price structure. Institutions have no motivation to strive to get better pricing for incarcerated offenders.

Inmates are able to make purchases via an institutional commissary or canteen, usually on a weekly basis. Friends and family place money in an inmate’s institutional trust account. The inmate can then utilize those funds to make purchases from the commissary or canteen. Unfortunately, the inmate is faced with products that are sold at higher prices than what is found in the “real world.”

In recent months, an ever increasing number of relatives and friends of incarcerated men and women are becoming concerned with the business practices of the Keefe Group, reports the Tampa Bay Times. These individuals are banding together to effect change in regard to the operations of the Keefe Group, particularly the company’s pricing practices in commissaries and canteens at North American correctional facilities. The sincere hope of these individuals is that there will be power in numbers and that they will be able to break some of the monopolistic practices of the Keefe Group.

 

UC Berkley Launches Partneship with UC Berkley

Earlier this week the Underground Scholar Initiaitve that was created by UC Berkley welcomed its first round of graduates. This initiative was created as a pipeline from prison to UC Berkley.

 

Many prisoners feel once they are released their is no hope for them to enter into society but these prisoners are walking into the world with a new mindset as they will be walking away from prison with college degrees.

 

This years innagural graduation included speeches from thought leaders throughout California who encouraged the graduates to shoot for the stars and to remind them that the sky is the limit.

 

 

One special graduate had even more to celebrate as he received his masters degree and announced amongst his peers that he had been accepted into a PH.D. Program. So if you’re wondering how a college could accept an ex felon? Well at UC Berkley ex felon isn’t even a topic.

 

Potential backlash from Albany County Inmate Tablet Program

An Albany, New York sheriff is causing some controversy with his decision to allow jail inmates to use tablets behind bars. Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple recently launched a new program inside of his jail cells that would allow inmates to use Apple tablets. Inmates would be allowed to do a variety of activities such as download music, play games and text family members and friends.

 

Despite the potential backlash and voiced concerns from community members, the Sheriff stated that he runs his jails as a business. Usage of the tablets behind bars is a revenue-generating activity. Inmate family members can place money within tablet accounts that allow inmates access to a number of apps. While inmates aren’t allowed to surf the internet, they are allowed to talk and text up to ten contacts that are vetted by the jail system.

 

Telmate, the inmate communications company behind the program, created the innovative tablet software that vets contacts before inmates can communicate with them. About 70 other jails across the United States operate a similar inmate communications program. Despite receiving some criticism from community members, the Sheriff contends that the program helps the jail system reduce costs. Right now, the Albany County jail system costs tax payers around $42 million a year according to the Sheriff.

 

http://www.kmov.com/story/34603666/sheriff-defends-letting-inmates-use-tablets-to-text-behind-bars