by Ed Lyon
Until February 18, 2020, it cost pre- and post-trial detainees in the Dallas County, Texas jails .24¢ per minute to speak to their families on the phone. Urged by criminal justice reform groups and the citizenry, the Dallas County Commissioners Court voted unanimously to forgo any and all profit-sharing in the jail’s phone system, operated by Carrollton, Texas-based Securus Technologies, in exchange for a reduction in calling costs to .01¢ per minute. This move will cost the county $2.4 million in yearly revenue.
Another positive change will be making electronic tablets available to the county jail’s population. It will cost detainees $5 per month to rent a tablet with educational programming included.
Movies, music and video games will be available for 99¢ to $12.99 per item. Incoming e-mail messages will be free. It will cost 24¢ for a prisoner to send responses.
Sheriff Marian Brown was initially worried about tablet monitoring and usage capabilities. Securus Technologies assuaged Brown’s trepidations, assuring her the only outreach possible will be to the ultra-secure Securus intranet — and then only when the tablets are docked at stations located outside of the prisoners’ cells overnight.
Sheriff Brown has opted for a positive, common sense approach to e-tablet introduction in her jails.
Using a “slow roll out,” she will use the ‘carrot and stick’ method for access to the privilege. She stated, “You know you have to behave yourself if you’re going to use the tablet. If you’re not behaving yourself, then of course you don’t get the tablet.”
Sheriff Brown, welcome to the 21st century!
Sources: dallasnews.com, dallasobserver.com
As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.
Already a subscriber? Login
More from this issue:
- What’s Justice Got to Do with It?, by Doran Larson
- From the Editor, by Paul Wright
- Can the Pandemic Undermine Mass Incarceration?, by Jayson Hawkins
- Animal Shelters Provide Cooler Temperatures Than Florida Prisons in Summer, by David Reutter
- North Carolina Criticized for Prisoner Transfers During Pandemic, by Edward Lyon
- Report: Arkansas Let Asymptomatic Prison Employees Infected with Coronavirus Continue to Work, by David Reutter
- $550,000 Settlement in Georgia Prisoner’s Starvation Death, by David Reutter
- COVID-19 in Hawaii’s Lockups: Still a Success Story but Cracks Starting to Show, by Edward Lyon
- Disabled Detainee at Cook County Jail Wins Class Certification in Lawsuit, by David Reutter
- The Latest News on How to Protect Yourself From Infection, by Michael D. Cohen, MD
- Prisons Banning Black Culture and History Books, by Edward Lyon
- ICE Deportations Fueling Spread of COVID-19 to Latin American Countries, by Dale Chappell
- Jails and Prisons Have Reduced Their Populations in the Face of the Pandemic, but Not Enough To Save Lives, by Peter Wagner, Emily Widra
- The Prison Was Built to Hold 1,500 Inmates. It Had Over 2,000 Coronavirus Cases, by Dara Lind
- How Long Can You Hide a Dead Body in a Prison Cell?, by Keri Blakinger
- Interview: Jodie Sinclair on Her New Book, “Love Behind Bars”, by Ken Silverstein
- Interview: Corene Kendrick on How the Prison Litigation Reform Act Strips Prisoners of Legal Rights, by Ken Silverstein
- Pay Up or Lockup: Housing Shortage Kept Cash-Poor Parolees Behind Bars, by Ike Swetlitz
- Ohio Jails Under Investigation, by Jayson Hawkins
- Colorado Explores Ending Private Prisons, by Jayson Hawkins
- San Francisco Eliminates Fees on Jail Phone Calls, by Mark Wilson
- Maine DOC, Medical Provider, Pay $250,000 Settlement Due to Excessive Force on 11-Year-Old, by Mark Wilson
- Consultants Advising Rich on Prison Life, by Kevin Bliss
- Wisconsin: Court Dismisses Prisoners’ Suit Over Asbestos, Mold on Procedural Grounds, by Chad Marks
- Does Increased Guard Violence Mean Texas Prisoners Are at Greater Risk?, by Matthew Clarke
- Transgender Woman Who Says She Was Raped, Beaten, Sues Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center
- BOP Official Reportedly Had Sexual Relationship With Former Police Union Head, by Bill Barton
- Can Kentucky Keep Charging Prisoners for Their Jail Stay if They Are Found Not Guilty?, by Dale Chappell
- Doctor at Florida Detention Center Spread COVID-19 to Prisoners, by David Reutter
- Prison Art is Rehabilitation, by Kevin Bliss
- D.C. Appeals Court Mixed on Request for Records and Video, by David Reutter
- Rhode Island Takes Uncommon Steps to Address a Common Problem: Drug Addiction in Prison, by Dale Chappell
- From Super Villain to Super Man, Tennessee Prisoner Still Executed, by Edward Lyon
- Record Number of Laws Passed Reducing Barriers for People With Criminal Records, by Douglas Ankney
- Tioga County, New York Police Informant Paid $50,000 to Settle False Arrest Claims, by Mark Wilson
- New York Prisoner Prevails in Lawsuit, Freed from 23 Years in Solitary Confinement, by Douglas Ankney
- Second Circuit Vacates Summary Judgment on Connecticut Prisoner’s Failure to Protect Claim, by Mark Wilson
- Lifers Now Exceed Entire Prison Population of 1970, by Dale Chappell
- Many of Aging Kansas State Prison Population Could Be Released, by Edward Lyon
- $2.8 Million Settlement in New York Pretrial Detainee’s Suicide, by David Reutter
- Study Shows Solitary Confinement Poses Mortality Risk After Release, by Jayson Hawkins
- Dallas County, Texas Jails Finally Enter the 21st Century on Phone Rates, by Edward Lyon
- Federal Judge: BOP Exercising “Reasonable Efforts” Against Coronavirus at NC Prison, by David Reutter
- Beyond Harsh: 86 Mississippi Prisoners Serving Life Without Parole for Nonviolent Offenses, by Matthew Clarke
- United Nations Official Says Connecticut’s Use of Solitary May Amount to Torture, by David Reutter
- New Jersey: Commission Recommends State Take 100 Steps to Improve Re-Entry for Ex-Prisoners, by Chad Marks
- Court Approves $1,250,000 Settlement in Suit Against Tennessee County for Fair Labor Violations, by Douglas Ankney
- Williams & Connolly, HRDC Win Censorship Case Against Virginia Regional Jail, $210,000 in Attorney Fees, by Derek Gilna
- Court Orders South Carolina Prisons to Move Forward with Hepatitis C Treatment, by Kevin Bliss
- Kansas Leads Country in Female Incarceration Rates, by Kevin Bliss
- New Law in Maryland Reveals Pathetic Prison Wages, by Jayson Hawkins
- BOP Guard Pleads Guilty to Sexually Molesting Prisoners at MCC Manhattan, by Dale Chappell
- DC Council Approves Voting in Prison Ahead of November Election, by Nicole D. Porter
- Supreme Court Affirms Lower-Court Dismissal of Colorado Prisoner In Forma Pauperis Actions, by Derek Gilna
- News in Brief
- Seventh Circuit: Indiana District Court Erred in Denying Counsel to Prisoner, by David Reutter
More from Edward Lyon:
- Tennessee Juvenile Murderer’s Sentence Commuted, Jan. 1, 2021
- New Book on Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration, Jan. 1, 2021
- Louisiana’s COVID-19 Prisoner Furlough Panel Next to Useless, Jan. 1, 2021
- U.S. Prisons Originally Designed to Prevent Spread of Disease Become Breeding Ground During Pandemic, Jan. 1, 2021
- Tennessee Prisons “Naughty” List Shows Prison Staff Often Bring in Contraband, Jan. 1, 2021
- Texas Police S.W.A.T. Woman Over Anti-Cop Bumper Stickers, Dec. 15, 2020
- North Carolina Case Involving Death of Black Prisoner: “I Can’t Breathe,” Revisited, Dec. 1, 2020
- Missouri Executes Prisoner During COVID-19 Crisis, Dec. 1, 2020
- Prisoners Exonerated in Michigan After Police Misconduct Revealed, Dec. 1, 2020
- COVID-19 in the Country’s Largest Female Prison, Dec. 1, 2020
More from these topics:
- NBA Owner Capitalizes on Mass Incarceration; Players Silent, Dec. 1, 2020. JPay, Inc., Seizure of Prisoner Funds, Telephone Rates.
- Cost of Communicating with Prisoners Breaking Family Budgets During Pandemic, Dec. 1, 2020. COVID-19, Telephone Rates.
- Federal Judge Approves $25 Million Class Action Settlement Against Global Tel*Link, Dec. 1, 2020. Private Prisons, Telephone Rates, Class Actions.
- $225,000 Windfall in Lehigh County, Pa. But Officials Don’t Cut Jail Phone Costs, Nov. 1, 2020. COVID-19, Telephone Rates.
- Massachusetts Jail Phone Cost Reductions Under Attack, Nov. 1, 2020. Telephone Rates.
- San Francisco Eliminates Fees on Jail Phone Calls, Sept. 1, 2020. Commissary, Telephone Rates.
- Quarantine Fatigue vs. Escalating Prison Lockdowns (During COVID-19 & Black Lives Matter Protests), July 30, 2020. Telephone Rates, Fathers in Prison, Children of Prisoners.
- California Court of Appeal Upholds Dismissal of Challenge to Excessive Jail Phone Rates as Unconstitutional Tax, July 1, 2020. Telephone Rates.
- The Ongoing Push to End Outrageous Prison Phone Charges, April 1, 2020. Telephone Rates, State Legislation.
- Oregon Lawmakers Prohibit Prison and Jail Telephone Kickbacks, March 3, 2020. Telephones, Telephone Rates.