Facility: Kendall County, IL
Contact: Sheriff Dwight Baird
Situation: Kendall County incarcerated individuals had unproductive, idle time on their hands, which sometimes resulted in inmate on inmate violence. Additionally, Sheriff Dwight Baird felt the population did not have enough opportunity to improve their lives to prepare for reentry into society.
Solution: SecureView® Tablet
Results: Kendall County offered the SecureView ® Tablets to their incarcerated residents, which give them access to critical content such as free betterment programs and communication tools to help prepare them for successful reintegration to society upon release.
Jesus Villegas and Darius Franklin are incarcerated individuals at the Kendall County Sheriff’s Office in Illinois. They both stay connected to their families through eMessaging available on Securus Technologies’ SecureView® Tablet. Based on the most widely used messaging platform in the corrections industry, this digital tool, which serves over 500,000 incarcerated individuals and their family and friends, improves staff efficiency by transmitting communication electronically.
“With my family, it’s not always easy for me to talk to them, especially if they’re sick, but they can eMessage me right away,” said Villegas. “eMessaging makes life’s situations a lot easier.”
Now that he is expecting a baby, he is especially enjoying the feature of photo attachments.
“It’s always nice to wake up in the morning to all the pictures. I love getting sonogram photos,” Villegas stated. “It’s nice to know that family and friends haven’t forgotten about me, that I’m still loved.”
Prior to using the tablets for incarcerated individuals, he remembers the challenges of communicating with loved ones.
“eMessaging is easier than a letter, where you’re waiting three to four days, to get a reply from the post,” Villegas added. “Also, with eMessaging, my girlfriend could send a note of her schedule for a good time to call, instead of rolling the dice of when to reach her.”
Villegas says eMessaging gives him something to look forward to every morning. He starts his day by looking at the photos he has received of his family, instead of just imagining what they look like through a phone call.
“eMessaging gives me a constant reminder and motivation to stay focused,” Villegas explained. “It makes me feel connected. Although, I’m away from my family, I feel like I’m still with them.”
Studies show that incarcerated individuals who stay in contact with supportive family members are more likely to succeed after their release.
Securus Technologies’ eMessaging continues to be an important communication tool for Franklin and his loved ones. Prior to this digital tool, Franklin explains he was waiting approximately three days to receive letters in the mail. Now, eMessaging brings him hope and lifts his spirits on a continuous basis.
“I feel eager about it; I feel relief,” Franklin stated. “Without it, there would be longer days. eMessaging is a stress reliever.”
He also feels the technology has important benefits to his personal communication with his family that has helped strengthen his relationships.
“You can develop an argument in a phone call. But in an eMessage, you can think before you respond. You can write your note in a positive way,” Franklin explained.
Additionally, other content on the community tablets that have strengthened his communications skills include the complimentary motivational speaking programs. He mentions that the various subjects give him topics to discuss with his family and offer him a positive outlook.
“They make me see life from different perspectives,” said Franklin. “They make me push negative thoughts from my head.”
He feels motivational speaking prepares him for reentry since it is improving his people skills. He admits patience is where he needs the most work.
“Motivational speaking helps me gain patience. It teaches me that I can make mistakes, not to give up and stay strong,” Franklin explained.