29 March 2024

I Can Haz Prosecushuns?

It turns out that prison phone companies have been cutting kickback deals with jails in exchange for them banning in person visitors.

Just when you thought that the for-profit part of the carceral system could not POSSIBLE become more evil, they outdo themselves.

Perhaps these sheriffs and phone company executives need to spend some time as inmates to better understand the dynamics here:

Two lawsuits filed by a civil rights group allege that county jails in Michigan banned in-person visits in order to maximize revenue from voice and video calls as part of a "quid pro quo kickback scheme" with prison phone companies.

Civil Rights Corps filed the lawsuits on March 15 against the county governments, two county sheriffs, and two prison phone companies. The suits filed in county courts seek class-action status on behalf of people unable to visit family members detained in the local jails, including children who have been unable to visit their parents.

Defendants in one lawsuit include St. Clair County Sheriff Mat King, prison phone company Securus Technologies, and Securus owner Platinum Equity. In the other lawsuit, defendants include Genesee County Sheriff Christopher Swanson and prison phone company ViaPath Technologies. ViaPath was formerly called Global Tel*Link Corporation (GTL), and the lawsuit primarily refers to the company as GTL.

Each year, thousands of people spend months in the county jails, the lawsuit said. Many of the detainees have not been convicted of any crime and are awaiting trial; if they are convicted and receive long sentences, they are transferred to the Michigan Department of Corrections.

If someone is awaiting trial, they are innocent, and sheriffs and these phone companies are colluding to extort money from innocent. 


St. Clair County implemented its family visitation ban in September 2017, "prohibiting people from visiting their family members detained inside the county jail," Civil Rights Corps alleged. This "decision was part of a quid pro quo kickback scheme with Securus Technologies, a for-profit company that contracts with jails to charge the families of incarcerated persons exorbitant rates to communicate with one another through 'services' such as low-quality phone and video calls," the lawsuit said.

Under the contract, "Securus pays the County 50 percent of the $12.99 price tag for every 20-minute video call and 78 percent of the $0.21 per minute cost of every phone call," the lawsuit said. The contract has "a guarantee that Securus would pay the County at least $190,000 each year," the St. Clair County lawsuit said.

The contract incentivizes the jail to increase video calls, in part by reducing payments from Securus "if the County fails to reach a minimum number of monthly paid video calls," the lawsuit said. The contract also lets Securus bill the county directly if call volume isn't high enough or renegotiate or terminate the deal if there is a "material reduction in inmate population or capacity," the lawsuit said.

"Both the County Defendants and Securus understood and intended that, to fulfill their end of the bargain, County Defendants would ban all in-person visits. Securus even installed the new video kiosks in the same areas of the jail formerly used for in-person visitation," the lawsuit said.

Change the law, and criminally charge everyone involved with this scheme.  Then use asset forfeiture to leave them destitute.

These people, and these companies, need to be effaced with not even a hint of their existence remaining.


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