Securus Offers Some of the Lowest Audio and Video Calling Rates in the Industry
Competition for Provision of Inmate Telecom Services is Alive and Well, and Clearly Exists
DALLAS, TX March 31, 2017/PRNewswire/ —
Securus Technologies, a leading provider of civil and criminal justice technology solutions for public safety, investigation, corrections and monitoring, discusses its significant investment in inmates and friends/family members, the rates that it charges for audio and video communications, and competition for provision of inmate telecom services.
In the last five (5) years, Securus Technologies has invested over $200 million in products, education, media, communications, jobs, and post release programs that directly improve the lives of inmates and friends/family members.
In this press release, we will use a “Question and Response” format to discuss the points outlined above. Richard A. (“Rick”) Smith, the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Securus Technologies will respond to the questions posed.
How much has Securus directly invested in products for inmates and friends/family members?
“I estimate that we have invested over $200 million in products and services that have directly positively impacted inmates and friends/family members.”
What type of investments did you make?
“We invested in increasing interactions between inmates and others – video communications, completing more audio calls, email, making funding easier and faster, reducing costs of making calls, improving the speed of answer in our Call Center, getting inmates access to music, books, education, religious books, access to legal libraries, access to tablet technology, and many more.”
What do you charge for this?
“Our average usage based rate for audio calls is $.18 per minute, and for video calls, the rate is $.24 per minute. In short term facilities (jails), the average amount for an 18-day stay is $24.37 between booking and release paid to Securus. For longer term facilities (prisons), that rate is $40.63 per month. These include all fees and are extremely low for the breadth of services that we provide.”
Do these rates include the safety and security features that you provide – are they all-in costs?
“Yes, we provide over 500 safety and security features that keep inmates, friends, family members, corrections officers, law enforcement officers, victims, witnesses, and all of society safe.”
Have rates for audio calling trended up or down historically?
“In 2008, the average rate per audio call was $3.25. In 2016, that same rate was $2.01 – that represents a 38% decrease, which is a substantial reduction for a call of the same duration. Investments in better/faster technologies and call storage capabilities allow us to charge less – that is a good thing for inmates and friends/family members.”
Commissioner Clyburn of the Federal Communications Commission has indicated that you charge up to $14.00 per minute for audio calls. Is that accurate?
“No, we have indicated to Commissioner Clyburn in the past that our average is only $.18 per minute but she continues to use inaccurate information. Perhaps that is not deliberate, but clearly not correct.”
Who sets the rates for inmate calling?
“We negotiate rates with officials who manage prisons and jails. Ultimately, they make the decision on rates that we can charge.”
Is it true that there is no competition for inmate telecommunications services?
“That is not correct. There are approximately 58 competitors that provide inmate calling services in the United States. So for any Request for Proposal (RFP) that is issued for a contract, there are many providers who would bid on that RFP. Sometimes we hear that there are no choices for inmates on telecom services – that is technically true, but the facility officials have multiple providers and the choice is theirs, i.e., they choose the best option for them and the inmates that they are responsible for. This is the same process that they use for facility mattresses, food, commissary, and health care, i.e., those who manage the facility have multiple sources of products and they choose “the best” from the vendors available. That is typical for government contracting.”
If the provision of inmate telecom was a monopoly, would your rate per call have trended down in a significant way over the last eight (8) years?
“Actual metrics prove that this is a very competitive business. We reduced our rates by 38% and invested hundreds of millions of dollars in products, and greatly helped inmates and friends/family members succeed when they are released from facilities and join society. All of this clearly proves that there is significant competition and competitors in the inmate communications sector – very large price reductions and DOZENS of competitors = good for inmates and their friends/family members. We are proud of what we have accomplished for all that we serve,” concluded Smith.
About Securus Technologies
Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and serving more than 3,450 public safety, law enforcement and corrections agencies and over 1,200,000 inmates across North America, Securus Technologies is committed to serve and connect by providing emergency response, incident management, public information, investigation, biometric analysis, communication, information management, inmate self-service, and monitoring products and services in order to make our world a safer place to live. Securus Technologies connecting what matters®. For more information, please visit SecurusTechnologies.tech.