Aventiv Technologies President and CEO Dave Abel announced today detailed progress made in year one of the company’s multi-year transformation initiative as well as new commitments expanding on the organization’s pledge to better serve corrections customers and make staying connected more accessible and affordable for the incarcerated community.
The company introduced a multi-year transformation initiative in January 2020 with a focus on five key commitment areas. The organization made substantial progress on each and will use that momentum to continue leading industry change in 2021.
“When we launched an expansive transformation agenda last year, we could not foresee the challenges 2020, the year of COVID19, would bring, for the communities we serve and for our nation as a whole,” Abel said. “We made incredible progress despite many roadblocks and I am proud of the changes and developments we accomplished in year-one of our transformation initiative to better serve incarcerated individuals, their loved ones and agency customers while helping to align the way this industry operates with rehabilitative values.”
Aventiv reported its one-year progress on its 2020 transformation agenda. Aventiv reduced the cost of calls for incarcerated Americans and their loved ones through a combination of customer cooperative contract renegotiations, fee reductions, and a COVID-19 emergency program. The company also intercepted approximately 11,500 cases of suspicious activity last year, maintaining its commitment to public safety officials as a trusted resource. The company expanded its educational offerings to serve an additional 15,000 students across the country, created a new partnership with Televerde to provide market wage jobs to more than 100 incarcerated women, and invested more than $50 million in the physical infrastructure of its partner facilities. Leadership also began an ongoing series of virtual listening sessions with advocates for the incarcerated, individuals impacted by incarceration, families who have lost loved ones to police violence, and nearly a dozen local community leaders from around the country. A complete list of 2020 achievements can be found at https://transformation.aventiv.com/.
To further drive industry alignment with rehabilitative values and expand on progress made in 2020, Aventiv has established new commitments for 2021 as part of the organization’s multi-year transformation.
“As we continue to evolve and operate the business in a socially balanced manner, it’s important that we hold ourselves accountable to the changes we pledge and to remain aggressive in pursuit of progress. Complacency is unacceptable,” said Abel. “While we acknowledge the changes that needed to take place within our organization to better serve our customers, we value the continued support and engagement from our corrections partners to truly reshape the corrections industry.”
ACCESSIBILITY AND AFFORDABILITY
We will work with existing customers and include in new proposals at least one communication per week for every incarcerated account holder in need at no cost to the consumer. We believe that communications with friends and family are an essential element of life, and that no one should be completely restricted from communicating based on financial means.
We will continue to deliver on our three-year commitment to a 15% reduction in the average price of a telephone call, which began in 2020 at $0.15 per minute. As we enter year two of a three-year commitment, we will continue to find efficiencies and share savings with consumers to progress against this important goal.
We will introduce monthly pricing models alongside traditional pay per minute models where allowed and work with policymakers to modernize regulations to permit it more broadly. Justice-involved families have clearly articulated that budget certainty is vital to being able to cover communication expenses for incarcerated loved ones. In a recent pilot, using this method increased communication time by 25% and decreased costs to consumers by more than 50%.
We will not use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology to bypass regulations, and in states where our telecommunications are not subject to state regulatory caps by use of VoIP. we will work with agencies to honor the state regulatory price caps. Communications technology is an evolving field and today many calls are delivered via Voice over Internet Protocol instead of traditional analog systems. While we are working to develop cutting edge technologies and services, we will not use those developments to bypass regulations on traditional calling. Instead, we will work with our institutional partners to rework our pricing if needed to align with traditional telecom caps, and will continue to honor requirements for federal and state assistance programs.
We will publish an annual report of product performance and service levels independently validated by a third-party to provide insight into the quality of experience we provide to customers and consumers.
EDUCATION, RE-ENTRY AND RECIDIVISM
We pledge to significantly improve and diversify our educational offerings by inviting community college and minority-serving institutions to join our platforms with the goal of increasing registration of individuals participating in post-secondary educational endeavors. Working in concert with local institutions we will enable online delivery of their educational content to incarcerated individuals through our next generation tablet deployments.
We will partner with proven, outcomes-based programs to make literacy tools available on all of our tablets.
Our hiring processes will be further structured to actively seek second chance and other underserved populations for roles throughout the organization. More than 1/3 of working-age adults in this nation have a criminal record that leads to substantial difficulties in securing a job and increases the likelihood of being re-incarcerated. The most impactful thing we can do is to invest in and stand by individuals as they work on a successful re-entry path; a path that is fundamentally dependent upon securing gainful employment post-incarceration.
Our contracting standards will be expanded to included second chance hiring expectations for our partners and suppliers. We are committed to fully supporting second chance hiring not only directly for ourselves, but integrating these principles into our procurement standards, vendor relations and thought leadership.
LISTENING AND RESPONSIVENESS
We will establish a formal advisory board of major stakeholders to provide actionable feedback and guidance directly to our management teams. The board will represent distinct interest groups including: incarcerated individuals; justice involved families, with a particular focus on the matriarchal family lead who is often the primary consumer of our services; community champions; and facility customers. The board will meet at least semi-annually and, as the pandemic restrictions are lifted, will be in person gatherings where and when possible.
TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION
We will launch a platform for returned citizens in three constituent communities focused on improving re-entry success rates by addressing education, jobs, and other core needs. Our technology helps to keep people connected, and the needs do not stop as they transfer through the incarceration period.
We will resource existing community groups reaching individuals from at least fifteen locations to enrich and scale programs that make a demonstrable, lasting impact on re-entry and recidivism. We see our role as the technology platform and will focus on partnering with community-based reentry and anti- recidivism experts to provide technological access and audiences for their proven programs.
We will have 400,000 tablet devices deployed for use by the end of 2021 to facilitate broader access to communications, education, re-entry programs and other support services. Our tablet technology helps close the technology gap in the incarcerated community. Broad distribution of tablets will help close this gap with both free and paid content available to all we serve through these devices.