Skype for Jail
September 22, 2014 5:00 AM   Subscribe

Dallas County, TX, considers banning live visits for jail inmates and switching to for-pay videoconferencing service. However, other communities have already installed the system by jail-telecom-for-profit experts, Securus.

In fact, Dallas County, TX, appears to have originally accepted the company's bid. However, as of this week, inmate advocates have managed to have the original contract nulled and the bid for services re-opened.

Nonetheless, among other places (including Michigan, where Ingham County jail administer Sam Davis proudly gushes over their jail's new visitation-for-pay system, ""Imagine, a first born is brought home and mom gets to turn on the webcam. Dad gets to see their newborn"), Securus is already installed in Florida. (Good news, library fans! If you don't have a computer, Securus has arranged that you can use your commmunity library's computers.)

Besides striving to punish families of people who are incarcerated (most of whom have not yet been tried), apparently Securus also dabbles in patent trolling and disconnecting calls coming from competing (less-expensive) VOIP-based services.

Besides pay-for-pay videoconferencing with friends and family, Louisiana (via TX-based US Telehealth) now provides "telemedicine" to inmates.

Of course, another advantage—as infamous AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio (who began having such equipment procured and installed last year) points out—all calls and informations such as IP addresses are tracked and recorded allowing investigators to "mine intelligence data like never before."
posted by Mike Mongo (57 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
So it's a monopolistic for-profit corporate panopticon that contractually forbids the most basic of human interactions while monetizing the artificial alternative?

Can we STOP looking to dystopian cyberpunk as the go-to template for our society at some point?
posted by kyrademon at 5:13 AM on September 22, 2014 [73 favorites]


It's pretty hard to smuggle dope, booze, and cigarettes into prison over electronic cable; I foresee a total collapse of prison black markets because of this.

Of course, there may be a slight uptick in violence due to the long-term dehumanizing effects, but then again American prison system is all about punishment, not rehabilitation.
posted by Renoroc at 5:15 AM on September 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's pretty hard to smuggle dope, booze, and cigarettes into prison over electronic cable; I foresee a total collapse of prison black markets because of this.

Crooked guards and crooked lawyers have as much to do with that as anyone else, so probably not.
posted by kewb at 5:16 AM on September 22, 2014 [32 favorites]


It's pretty hard to smuggle dope, booze, and cigarettes into prison over electronic cable; I foresee a total collapse of prison black markets because of this.

In this brave new world of prison profit extraction, did the corporate types remember to not treat the guards like they treat other hourly wage workers? Because there's a more personal level of profit extraction to be had for the guards, given their access to the outside world.
posted by Slackermagee at 5:21 AM on September 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


If this means fewer volunteer visitor smugglers and more bribes for wardens to bring in contraband, that's obviously a bonus feature for the prison staff.
posted by brokkr at 5:27 AM on September 22, 2014 [11 favorites]


Every time I think we've hit the bottom, the floor drops lower.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:33 AM on September 22, 2014 [24 favorites]


It's pretty hard to smuggle dope, booze, and cigarettes into prison over electronic cable; I foresee a total collapse of prison black markets because of this.

Only if you get rid of the most probable main conduit: prison guards.
posted by PenDevil at 5:38 AM on September 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


Nothing stops prison black markets. Ever. SMOKE ’EM IF YOU GOT ’EM: CIGARETTE BLACK MARKETS IN U.S. PRISONS AND JAILS
posted by The White Hat at 5:40 AM on September 22, 2014 [4 favorites]


Besides pay-for-pay videoconferencing with friends and family, Louisiana (via TX-based US Telehealth) now provides "telemedicine" to inmates.

There's no reason for the scare quotes here; telemedicine is a real thing that helps a lot of people get medical care, in prison and out. I have no doubt that some asshole company driven purely by profit has or will fuck it up, but it is/ought to be part of decent medical care for people who are incarcerated as well as those who live in remote areas.
posted by rtha at 5:41 AM on September 22, 2014 [13 favorites]


There's no reason for the scare quotes here; telemedicine is a real thing that helps a lot of people get medical care, in prison and out.

Unless it is access to safe and legal abortion.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:02 AM on September 22, 2014


Ignore my above comment. Looks like it's still allowed (for now): Iowa Supreme Court allows telemed-abortion system to continue
posted by cjorgensen at 6:05 AM on September 22, 2014


Telemedicine isn't used for physical procedures anyway, obviously - it's a diagnostic tool.
posted by rtha at 6:10 AM on September 22, 2014


Then the King will say to those on his right, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit videoconferenced me."
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:13 AM on September 22, 2014 [21 favorites]


Remember, jail is mostly people who have not yet gone to trial, plus a few people convicted of minor crimes. Theoretically they don't deserve any punishment at all.
posted by miyabo at 6:14 AM on September 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is dehumanizing. You are cutting them off the world completely if you don't allow personal visits. The only real influence they will have is each other that will result in learning new tricks of the criminal world.
posted by TomDunn at 6:25 AM on September 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's pretty hard to smuggle dope, booze, and cigarettes into prison over electronic cable; I foresee a total collapse of prison black markets because of this.

Crooked guards and crooked lawyers have as much to do with that as anyone else, so probably not.


Not to mention drones!
posted by TedW at 6:27 AM on September 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


50 cents a minute for what amounts to Skype.

If it were a penny a minute, it might be OK. If it didn't involve cutting off physical visits, it would actively be nice.

But 50 cents a minute.

I guess they add that onto the room-and-board bill that jails are apparently now charging people (regardless of guilt or innocence as far as I know).
posted by Hizonner at 6:39 AM on September 22, 2014 [5 favorites]


if you are found innocent do you get your money back?
posted by any major dude at 6:43 AM on September 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


if you are found innocent do you get your money back?

The best part of a Police State - no one is innocent in the eyes of the power elite, especially themselves. There's only their power and ability to wield it at will.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:46 AM on September 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


50 cents a minute for what amounts to Skype.

I wonder if that is in part a way to get around the recent cap on charges for phone calls, an attempt to end the price gouging that had gone on in the past.
posted by TedW at 6:57 AM on September 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


If this takes off I bet that fifty cents a minute will get much more expensive.
posted by TedW at 6:58 AM on September 22, 2014


Show me in the prison handbook where it says in-person visits are double plus A-OK great things to do.

And by the way, who cares if a prison is run for profit. It's a government-paid contracted concession. If that's your big hurdle, then you know what else is an identical for-profit government concession? The company that delivers the electricity you're using to read this.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:00 AM on September 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Show me in the prison handbook where it says in-person visits are double plus A-OK great things to do.

You can start here; has plenty of references for further reading if you desire.
posted by TedW at 7:11 AM on September 22, 2014 [18 favorites]


If the prison was run for profit while rehabilitating and training the inmates in useful, applicable skills and not just punching out license plates for a dollar an hour then sure, the prison can be run for profit. That isn't happening here, I wouldn't bank on it happening in the US full stop, and might only be happening in parts of the Scandinavian countries.

Comparing a system that exploits the people its supposed to correct at every opportunity to a tightly regulated utility that pays its employees a living wage and doesn't rely, to my knowledge, on an exploited and rights-less worker class seems bogus to me.
posted by Slackermagee at 7:16 AM on September 22, 2014 [8 favorites]


then you know what else is an identical for-profit government concession? The company that delivers the electricity you're using to read this.

Unless you're living in a city with government-run utilities, like Seattle or Los Angeles. I know Seattle has city-run power because I've paid electric bills there; I know Los Angeles has city-run power because they were pretty much the only city in California that didn't lose power back in the early 2000s, back when Enron was manufacturing blackouts in order to shake down their customers.

Using power companies as an example of how for-profit government concessions can be not so bad is sort of daft, since actual government-run utilities are, well, way better.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 7:18 AM on September 22, 2014 [17 favorites]


It's pretty hard to smuggle dope, booze, and cigarettes into prison over electronic cable; I foresee a total collapse of prison black markets because of this.


I imagine this might have been meant as /s, but just in case it wasn't...prison black markets are likely fed the same way that Hollywood movie piracy is. So this will probably slow down the small amount that's smuggled by "outsiders" while only accelerating/protecting the lion's share of traffic which is managed by "insiders."
posted by trackofalljades at 7:23 AM on September 22, 2014


"And, if certain parameters are met, it would share up to 25 percent of its revenue with the government. That could mean millions of dollars for Dallas County, Jenkins predicted."

Why are people allowed to pretend those criteria will be met and this will do anything other than suck money out?

In the plus column, though, this may make it easier to keep in touch with prisoners who are randomly moved around.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 7:24 AM on September 22, 2014


Well, this is absolutely horrible. I am also wondering if there will be repercussions of this in terms of inmate-on-inmate (and inmate-on-staff) violence; I assume this will make everyone way, WAY more stressed and also really really highlight economic disparities among the inmates because wealthier people will actually be able to do something as basic as TALKING TO THEIR FRIENDS AND FAMILIES. It seems very possible that tensions will rise as loneliness and stress and misery and jealousy increase as people are increasingly isolated from the people who care about them on the outside.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:24 AM on September 22, 2014 [7 favorites]


Show me in the prison handbook where it says in-person visits are double plus A-OK great things to do.

I had to double-take at this. First, to get the meaning -- what does it mean? And then do we need a written citation that something that was previously free and involved human contact is "double plus A-OK" before we replace it with a paid, electronic facsimile? Who says going outside to play is good, either? Show me the cite.

I suspect that most contraband smuggling involving visitors also involves crooked guards looking the other way, but most smuggling is done by the guards, who are part of the prison gang system no matter how you slice it (just as the police in gang-ridden areas and even not-so-gang-ridden areas tend to become a street gang of their own right) and get to go home every day and access all of the trappings of the free world. The "black market collapse" comment (which is from a different poster) almost came off as sarcastic in its innocent obliviousness. Guards. It's the guards.

It's bad for all of the reasons that treating prisoners as less-than-human is bad. Because we have to assume that some number of these people are mostly decent people who have the right to look a loved one in the eyes from time to time. Because denying someone their humanity and putting a veil around all of their interactions sounds like a great way to dehumanize someone who is already trying to figure out their station in life while surrounded by a hostile environment that is often capricious and not all proportional to the crime(s) committed.

Because allowing domestic prisoners to see visitors is something we do in America, like not beating prisoners or war or torturing people, citizens or not. Whoops, never mind all that.
posted by aydeejones at 7:27 AM on September 22, 2014 [25 favorites]


In other words, running your prison like everyone in it is a street don calling shots from behind bars basically turns it into a Gulag. If you treat every prisoner as if they are the worst possible murderous thug invoking street executions at every interaction, guess what sort of institution you're overseeing?

Like many other problems it's not intractable but the corruption built around it makes it just nearly so, while the pressures bringing the problem to bear are coming from multiple, often external direactions, and increasing the street value of smuggling information, orders, and yeah, contraband, through guards is not the answer.
posted by aydeejones at 7:32 AM on September 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


In other words, running your prison like everyone in it is a street don calling shots from behind bars...

In this month's Atlantic: How Gangs Took Over Prisons
posted by TedW at 7:39 AM on September 22, 2014


Just posting to amplify what other have said above - the bulk of contraband that gets into prison is brought in by guards and staff. The guards have powerful unions (which shouldn't be a bad thing, but I digress), that basically prevent them from being subject to regular searches. The only reasons for this are PROFIT, and then the collateral-damage bonus of inflicting misery.
posted by The Vice Admiral of the Narrow Seas at 7:50 AM on September 22, 2014


Remember, jail is mostly people who have not yet gone to trial, plus a few people convicted of minor crimes. Theoretically they don't deserve any punishment at all.

I'm not saying this isn't true, but a friend of mine just did a one-year stint in county jail instead of a two-year term in state prison due to overcrowding. This appears to be a growing trend here in California.

According to him, the time in county is much harder than in prison. Less time in the yard, fewer privileges in general, no work programs, higher commissary prices...the list goes on.

And now this. Fuck.
posted by malocchio at 7:56 AM on September 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


Isn't this ass-backwards? It wouldn't surprise me if supportive familial, social, and religious relationships are helpful in preventing recidivism, so why make those relationships more prohibitively difficult to maintain? Teleconferencing is likely going to be less expensive and less hostile than subjecting visitors to mandatory searches, so why not make it an investment?

The only way this makes sense is if you treat prisons and jails as punitive profit-centers.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 8:03 AM on September 22, 2014 [10 favorites]


This appears to be a growing trend here in California.

Not so much a trend as the result of multiple lawsuits and legislation. More here.

> And by the way, who cares if a prison is run for profit.

A ton of people, including legislators, attorneys, judges, families of incarcerated people, and others who have a lot more knowledge than you do about criminal justice. Did you have a point with this?
posted by rtha at 8:05 AM on September 22, 2014 [11 favorites]


50 cents a minute for what amounts to Skype.

I'm looking at a commissary order slip to get some perspective here.

1 minute? That's a cup of soup.
2 minutes? That's your (travel size) bar of soap. Or some instant rice. Or a razor.
3 minutes? That's a pop-tart or a candy bar.
5 minutes? That's your (travel size) deodorant.
12 minutes? That's your pair of reading glasses.

I'm not sure which luxury I would trade for a few minutes of Skype.
posted by malocchio at 8:34 AM on September 22, 2014 [4 favorites]


In this brave new world of prison profit extraction, did the corporate types remember to not treat the guards like they treat other hourly wage workers? Because there's a more personal level of profit extraction to be had for the guards, given their access to the outside world.

Two words: Robot guards.

Cheaper. Non-unionized. Easy to sell to the public as a safety issue. And strictly programmed to follow the rules.

(Although, as I think about it, if I were in prison, I think I really would prefer robot guards to humans. For all their inflexibility and lack of human warmth, they're also incapable of petty cruelty and would probably not take offense at something I said and straight up murder me. Maybe this is actually a good idea.)
posted by Naberius at 8:48 AM on September 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm biased (since I've spent time–a very, very short amount of time–in prison), but I will always take the opportunity to say this: prisons and jails should be paradise. Wonderful food, luxury rooms, a large variety of activities and entertainment, and education in huge, huge amounts. Because a prison could be the nicest place in the world, but it would still a type of hell, because you couldn't leave if you wanted to.

At some point, we missed that the greatest punishment we can inflict on each other is that loss of freedom. All these extra humiliations are not only cruel, but useless. They don't rehabilitate or deter, they just undermine what should be a humanitarian act–the task of taking those of us who have been lead astray, and leading them back home.

The concept of eliminating personal visits sickens me. To take away that small comfort is despicable, and I hope moral people take a stand and fight such changes.
posted by aedison at 8:50 AM on September 22, 2014 [36 favorites]


If that's your big hurdle, then you know what else is an identical for-profit government concession? The company that delivers the electricity you're using to read this.

I'm not 100% certain but I don't think ConEd has a track record of torturing people to death. It is possible that they are just way better wrt coverups than prisons are, I guess.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:14 AM on September 22, 2014 [7 favorites]


And by the way, who cares if a prison is run for profit. It's a government-paid contracted concession. If that's your big hurdle, then you know what else is an identical for-profit government concession? The company that delivers the electricity you're using to read this.

I actually agree with the principle here, but in the case of prisons the incentives are all wrong -- there is not the political will to confront abuse, since nobody tends to care too much about the "customers" being served. So the contractors can cost-cut to their hearts' content, in all sorts of invidious ways, and there's little chance of enforcement or change because who wants to spend money or work up the motivation to correct the way that prisoners are treated? Especially if it's "saving the taxpayers money"?

Even if you favor privatization generally there's a pretty good argument that prisons are a special case.

Also, the fact that Securus is for-profit is only part of the issue here. The real problem is how the profit is being generated -- by charging prisoners money to "visit" family.
posted by eugenen at 9:23 AM on September 22, 2014 [6 favorites]


If there were a prison company named "Securus" in a movie, people would make fun of it. Do they build their equipment out of unobtainium?
posted by the jam at 10:04 AM on September 22, 2014 [9 favorites]


There's a type of American who is perfectly glad to see other people's lives reduced to utter wretchedness so long as

1 - It's not the government doing it, and
2 - Someone else is making a profit off it.

All I can do is wonder what happened to them to make them that way.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:19 AM on September 22, 2014 [8 favorites]


Well hello there! I see that you are poor and society has given you few choices, so crime has seemed like a good idea. Plus, you're black, and well we like to throw the book at you folks, so you're off to jail for ten years. We're going to put you at massive risk of assault, disease, and rape--and that's just from the guards! Your food is going to be made by Purina but it won't actually look like dog food, so you'll know it's actually made for people! Also, we're going to use you literally as slave labour, paying you pennies an hour, until you've made your hundreds of thousands of dollars in restitution for selling a few joints. And before we let you back out with no job training or prospects other than getting back to a life of crime--at a heightened level, what with everything you've learned in Sunny Dell SuperMax--we're going to charge you fifty cents a minute to talk with the only people in the world who still regard you as human!

Sigh. The thing is, people above have mentioned that this will increase prison violence. I have no doubt of that. But that's not going to lead to any reconsideration of policies, or any real push towards more humanitarian methods of incarcerating people. No, it's going to lead to harsher crackdowns, more time spent in solitary, more and more rules grinding people down until they just give up and submit.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:29 AM on September 22, 2014 [9 favorites]


All I can do is wonder what happened to them to make them that way.

Lack of empathy.*

(I don't even think your point #1 is true: Those kind of people are more than happy to see the government make other people wretched.)

* I think we all balance a couple of forces within ourselves: the pleasure of seeing things built and the pleasure of seeing things destroyed. Where that balance point is seems to me to have a lot to do with how much you can empathize with your fellow humans.

Building in this case can mean meaningful emotional or abstract things, to be clear. Building is more sophisticated than destruction, in that destruction is easy, immediate, and generally within the power of all of us to effect in some form or another. Building is harder, and in some cases no matter how much we might like to build a particular thing it's not something we can do.

You don't need empathy to get vicarious pleasure from seeing other people's stuff destroyed, but you do need empathy to get vicarious pleasure from seeing other people's stuff built.

posted by maxwelton at 10:40 AM on September 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Leaving aside the idea of getting rid of visitation, just charging prisoners for phone calls/Skype-like services in the first place is nuts. If you do the crime, do the time, or pay a fee for something like a parking ticket. But the system charging you for their trouble (room and board, calls, etc.) just creates all sorts of perverse incentives.

As for for-profit prisons, if our goal is to rehabilitate people and improve society to the point that incarceration rates go down, that's clearly going to run counter to the goals of a for profit-prison. So ... they're bad.
posted by freecellwizard at 12:20 PM on September 22, 2014


They even charge people extortionate rates for GPS trackers in order to do the house arrest thing!

Which is bizarre since they're saving the jail system ungodly amounts of money since they don't have to feed or house you.

But inmates are literally a captive market.
posted by miyabo at 12:30 PM on September 22, 2014


All I can do is wonder what happened to them to make them that way.

It's often people to whom things have *not* happened, people as yet untouched by the bitter accidents of life.
posted by kewb at 12:37 PM on September 22, 2014


As for for-profit prisons, if our goal is to rehabilitate people and improve society to the point that incarceration rates go down, that's clearly going to run counter to the goals of a for profit-prison.

That may be your goal, and it may be mine also. But that is absolutely not the goal of the politicians who scream law and order in every campaign speech. And once privately-run prisons were allowed to exist (which is an abomination), the goal of those who own them is the exact opposite of improving society or driving down incarceration rates; why would they drive themselves out of jobs? No, this sort of atrocious treatment of human beings is guaranteeing them more money, on generational scales. Ensuring that prison breaks people ensures continued broken families and societies, meaning your grandchildren are still going to be making money off PrisonCorp stocks when they have grandchildren of their own.

This is why the profit motive needs to be removed from the justice system entirely, and should never have been allowed to happen in the first place. It's more or less exactly the same problem as allowing the profit motive to exist with healthcare delivery, with more or less exactly the same reasons why it is a terrible idea for society as a whole.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:46 PM on September 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


This is why the profit motive needs to be removed from the justice system entirely, and should never have been allowed to happen in the first place. It's more or less exactly the same problem as allowing the profit motive to exist with healthcare delivery, with more or less exactly the same reasons why it is a terrible idea for society as a whole.

Exactly. Money is a fairly predictable motivator for people, but it's far from the only motivator. Reducing society and the people in it into little resource optimizers is one of the most cynical and dehumanizing ways of looking at the world I can imagine. Can we manufacture useful drugs, for example, as a society without making buckets of money off them? Of course we can (Jonas Salk etc. etc.). Yet companies say they "have to" spend $5 billion to develop a new drug ... baloney. Oops, derail.
posted by freecellwizard at 12:58 PM on September 22, 2014 [4 favorites]


This is like the third story posted just today that's made me want to post, "Things like this are why I still smoke, y'all."
posted by ob1quixote at 2:18 PM on September 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


It took several minutes for me to accept that this is real. Cognitively, I knew it was, but I just couldn't accept that enough people would think this was ok for it to really happen.

Like, what? so we're just going to cut people off 100% from anyone who isn't trapped in the same mouse cage as themselves?

How is this supposed to help with "rehabilitation"? I mean know the whole snarky spiel of prisons not being about that, and I know it's true... But I just don't understand how anyone could really think this was ok.

Unless they didn't care, or were sadistic.
posted by emptythought at 2:23 PM on September 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


But I just don't understand how anyone could really think this was ok.

Unless they didn't care, or were sadistic.


Yes.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:31 PM on September 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


One of the real problems the left faces is that we don't have as many ways to let people feel sadistic glee at the helpless suffering of the weak as the right does. Even if we can't provide that, we have to at least acknowledge that we humans really do love to watch the weak squirm under the boots of the strong.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 4:42 PM on September 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


It seems relevant that, 2 days after the OP story, Dallas rejected the contract.
posted by jpe at 6:52 PM on September 22, 2014 [8 favorites]


I've got mixed feelings about this. I think anyone who's visited someone (or someones) in the Dallas County Jails would have a mixed feelings about it. I lived in Dallas for a long time, and I used to do work with folks who often ended up in jail. So I visited a lot. In Dallas, there was a procedure to make an in-person visit: a check-in, a wait to go up in one of the towers while standing on a long hallway with hundreds of others, a warrant check, assignment to a group who goes up, a wait in the tower for a visitation booth to open, and a 10-15 minute over-the-phone visit through glass. Whole process takes maybe 90 minutes from the time you park.

I'm not terribly squeamish about jails and prisons, but I really never felt more unsafe and more personally-scrutinized than I did when visiting Dallas County. There was every opportunity for something bad to happen, and bad things often did happen. All for a meeting through glass on a 1970s phone handset.

There's nothing I hate more than the damn collect calls that cost more than talking to a jailbird is honestly worth. So I don't like the fee structure of this system. And I don't think doing away with in-person visits is a good idea. It just lets people desocialize and rot in jail. But I gotta say, in this particular instance, it would have been really nice to have a video conferencing option that was reasonably priced (i.e., not this one). It would have greatly improved the experience.
posted by kochbeck at 7:50 AM on September 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


One of the real problems the left faces is that we don't have as many ways to let people feel sadistic glee at the helpless suffering of the weak as the right does. Even if we can't provide that, we have to at least acknowledge that we humans really do love to watch the weak squirm under the boots of the strong.

That's what humiliation-humor-based reality shows are for.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:07 AM on September 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


It seems relevant that, 2 days after the OP story, Dallas rejected the contract.

As I referenced in the post, jpe. However, what surprised me is how many other municipalities have already installed this system with no protest whatsoever AND with plenty of cheerleading from the Usual Suspects (small-town dailies, police officials, well-positioned civic leaders). Google videoconferencing jail. There is serious competition for the developing of this abuse as a "market".

As Peter Wagner, executive director of the Prison Policy Institute, says in the first article, “This is a regressive tax on the poor." And that's just the start of the problems with this. Dehumanization of jail populations is an even greater poison that comes into play when cutting inmates off from outside, non-inmate human interaction.
posted by Mike Mongo at 12:50 PM on September 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


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