In light of the global coronavirus pandemic, correctional facilities across the country have taken a number of steps to reduce the potential spread of the virus among incarcerated individuals and correctional staff, including restricting in-person visitation.
These restrictions mean that other communication methods, including telephone, video, and digital messaging services, have taken on heightened importance 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:
• 18.5 million free call credits for incarcerated individuals and their families, resulting in 138.9 million free minutes of phone connections;
• 4.7 million free video connections to friends and families of incarcerated individuals;
• 8.4 million free JPay Stamps for electronic messaging to about 445,000 incarcerated individuals;
Securus has made accommodations for 395 agencies and 735 sites nationwide. For incarcerated individuals diagnosed with COVID-19, the company is providing compassion credits that allow free access to Securus phone calls and video connections for the duration of medical care. Those credits are loaded onto prepaid cards and distributed by correctional facilities to ill individuals. Additionally, public defenders can also access free calls at many locations during the pandemic.
For facilities that utilize Securus tablet technology, the company has also introduced select free movie and game titles, which have been downloaded 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.
“It is extremely challenging for incarcerated Americans and their loved ones to stay connected thanks to a host of policies designed to mitigate the spread of the pandemic,” said Dave Abel, president and CEO of Aventiv Technologies, parent company of Securus Technologies. “Securus believes that regular connection is even more important now than ever before, which is why we are doing our part and providing our services at free and reduced rates throughout this difficult time.”
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.