The role of private enterprises in the inmate communications industry throughout the United States has long been a point of contention, especially for inmates rights advocacy groups, such as the Prison Policy Initiative. Although inmates pay lower rates than they ever have in the past, across much of the country, inmates, their family members and prisoner rights groups have long complained about the exorbitant costs that some jurisdictions impose on those incarcerated within their borders.
Although there is no doubt that some places charge inmates incredibly high amounts to make outgoing phone calls, other areas are proving that the system of privatized inmate communications can work for everyone involved. One such example is the systems run by Securus Technologies, one of the leading inmate communications providers in the United States today, across the state of Louisiana. Throughout Louisiana, Securus Technologies pays up to 70 percent of all revenues it earns from outgoing phone calls back to the institutions in which it operates. This provides these institutions with a significant source of revenue, enabling them to keep their facilities well-staffed and beds available for the ever-increasing influx of criminals.
But Securus has also managed to keep the rates in the state of Louisiana incredibly low. The average inmate in a prison where Securus operates is likely to pay just $0.15 per minute for outgoing phone calls. This rate is barely any higher than what that same inmate would pay for a typical long-distance call on the free market, making it extremely easy for inmates to stay in frequent touch with their loved ones on the outside of prison.
Despite what so many critics say, it is cases like this that illustrate that private enterprises involved in the prison communication space are doing far more good than any problems that they may be causing.