Correctional facilities across America have continued to implement public health measures designed to keep incarcerated individuals and correctional staff safe as the pandemic continues. Those measures include restricting in-person visitation, heightening the importance of other communication methods, including telephone, video, and digital messaging services, for incarcerated individuals and their loved ones.
To make those services more accessible for families across the country, Securus Technologies has worked with its customers to implement a program to provide free calls and services during the crisis.
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:
• 19.5 million free call credits for incarcerated individuals and their families, resulting in 146.5 million free minutes of phone connections;
• 4.7 million free video connections to friends and families of incarcerated individuals;
• 9.9 million free JPay Stamps for electronic messaging to more than 446,000 incarcerated individuals.
Securus has made accommodations for 395 agencies and 735 sites nationwide. Incarcerated individuals who fall ill with COVID-19 are being provided compassion credits that allow free access to Securus phone calls and video connections for the duration of medical care. The company provides those credits on prepaid cards, which are then distributed by correctional facilities to individuals on as as-needed basis. Securus is also providing public defenders with free calls at many locations during the emergency.
At participating facilities, Securus has introduced select free movie and game titles for individuals. Those have been downloaded more than 2 million times. These new titles are being offered in addition to a vast preexisting collection of educational offerings, e-books, podcast, and other materials that are always available at no-cost.
“As COVID cases across the United States continue to rise, incarcerated Americans and their families continue to be impacted by difficult but necessary restrictions making it more difficult to stay connected,” said Dave Abel, president and CEO of Aventiv Technologies, parent company of Securus Technologies. “We continue to monitor the situation and are committed to offering our services at free or reduced rates throughout this unprecedented emergency.”
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. Securus is party to the FCC’s “Keep Americans Connected Pledge” and recently agreed to extend that commitment by another 30 days through the end of July.
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.