As the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact communities across the United States, correctional facilities have implemented a number of public safety measures in the name of public health. One such step includes the restriction of in-person visitation, heightening the importance of alternative communication methods, including telephone, video, and digital messaging services for incarcerated individuals and their families.
Securus Technologies has been working with customers and partners across the country to implement an emergency program to provide free calls and other communications during this time of great need for families. Since the official declaration of a national emergency on March 13, Securus has been offering free and discounted services to its state and county corrections agency customers.
So far, the company’s offerings total:
• 21.1 million free call credits for incarcerated individuals and their families, resulting in 160.3 million free minutes of phone connections;
• 4.8 million free video connections to friends and families of incarcerated individuals;
• 9.8 million free JPay Stamps for electronic messaging to about 448,000 incarcerated individuals;
Those accommodations have been made for 397 agencies and 737 unique sites nationwide. The company is taking an additional step to help incarcerated individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 by 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.
“These free and discounted communications continue to help lighten some of the burdens facing incarcerated Americans and their loved ones right now,” said Dave Abel, President and CEO of Aventiv Technologies, parent company of Securus Technologies. “Regular contact is especially critical during this public health emergency, and we’re happy to do our part to help keep families connected.”
The program is part of an ongoing corporate 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.