In light of the global coronavirus pandemic, many correctional facilities across the country have reduced or suspended in-person visitation to reduce the likelihood of incarcerated individuals and correctional staff contracting COVID-19.
Those restrictions have further added to the importance of telephone, video and email connections between incarcerated individuals and their family and friends. Securus Technologies recognizes the unprecedented situation and has implemented a program to provide free calls and services during the crisis in partnership with many customers.
On March 13, the day COVID-19 was declared a national emergency in the United States, Securus began offering free and discounted services to every one of its state and county corrections agency customers. The company’s assistance thus far totals:
• 17.3 million free call credits for incarcerated individuals and their families, resulting in 130.2 million free minutes of phone connections;
• 4.6 million free video connections to friends and families of incarcerated individuals;
• 7.6 million free JPay Stamps for electronic messaging to more than 443,000 incarcerated individuals;
Total accommodations have been made for 393 agencies at 734 sites across the United States. The company is also taking additional steps to support incarcerated individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 by offering compassion credits that allow free access to Securus phone calls and video connections for the duration of an individual’s medical care. Those credits are loaded onto prepaid cards and distributed by correctional facilities to ill individuals. The company is also making free calls available to public defenders at many locations.
For those facilities enabled with Securus and JPay tablet technology, the company has also introduced select free movie and game titles during the pandemic. Those titles have been downloaded more than 2 million times and are offered on top of the preexisting collection educational offerings, free eBooks, podcasts and other self-help tools that are always available free of charge.
“Incarcerated individuals and their loved ones are already being disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, which has only made it more difficult to stay connected,” said Dave Abel, president and CEO of Aventiv Technologies, parent company of Securus Technologies. “We continue to do our part to offer our services at free or reduced rates and will continue to seek additional ways to make our services even more affordable during the pandemic and beyond.”
The program is a continuation of an ongoing transformation by Securus Technologies, which is taking a number of steps to improve access to its services. The company continues to work with its partners to garner feedback about the situation on the ground. All support from Securus will be in accordance with the latest public health guidelines to ensure that the support is tailored and responsive to the unique needs of the incarcerated community.