Throughout the country, prisons and jails of all sizes face an ongoing battle against the dangers of staffing shortages and contraband.
The policy-side response to these practical problems often involves restrictions that, while seemingly straightforward in the short term, perpetuate the isolation experienced by inmates, which is known to contribute to ongoing behavioral and social problems after release. They’ve included limiting visitation to video conferencing only to restricting visitation to just a day or two a month per prisoner.
However, a curious corollary to the situation involves the financial gains being made by both the companies providing communication services - phone, video, and electronic - and the jailers themselves.
MuckRock has begun investigating the nature of prison phone contracts in Louisiana and Alabama, including the commissions being received by the sheriffs.
Image via Civil Liberties Defense Center