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
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More from this issue:
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- 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
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- The Latest News on How to Protect Yourself From Infection, by Michael D. Cohen, MD
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- ICE Deportations Fueling Spread of COVID-19 to Latin American Countries, by Dale Chappell
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- 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
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- Doctor at Florida Detention Center Spread COVID-19 to Prisoners, by David Reutter
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- 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
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- Lifers Now Exceed Entire Prison Population of 1970, by Dale Chappell
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- California’s San Quentin and Folsom Prisons Hardest-Hit by COVID-19, March 1, 2021
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- Successive Corruption Scandal Rocks Mississippi Prison System, March 1, 2021
- Collateral Consequences of Mass Incarceration, Feb. 1, 2021
- COVID-19: What Texas Must Do to Save Prisoners’ Lives, Feb. 1, 2021
More from these topics:
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- 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.
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