As for the "inmate Services" fund this extra money is supposed to be going to: he should just refund it straight to the families, since the last time he had a chunk of change in the "Inmate Services" fund (where MCSO profits from the canteen sales presumably go, as well) he "misappropriated" it. Remember that $99 million he lost - almost $15 million of which came from this "Inmate Services" fund he likes to force prisoners and their loved ones to contribute to?
There never was actual contact allowed that could have facilitated smuggling at "contact" visits when they had them anyway - not at Estrella, at least - the women were always chained to the tables when visitors sat across from them. Mothers weren't even allowed to hug their kids. MOre access to prisoners from family the world is great - but should be affordable and not result in fewer visitation privileges for those who can't afford it.
This is just more of the same: extortion and exploitation of what is largely a population of individuals who haven't yet even been convicted of a crime. Arpaio needs to rein in his departmental corruption, really, if he wants to get that contraband issue under control, as far as I can see.
Anyway, this is what you should really be checking out - we got taken for a ride, people!
.... (among other resources...)
- For more information about Securus Technologies and video visitation at the Travis County Jail, see our SECURUS FACT SHEET
- Take our JAIL VIDEO VISITATION SURVEY (versión en Español aquí) to help us learn more about how video visitation impacts friends and family visiting people in jail. (
- SIGN OUR PETITION to restore in-person visitation at the Travis County Jail.
- Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #inSECURUS
- Check out our NEW REPORT!
Face-to-face visitation has a new meaning for inmates at Maricopa County jails now that in-person visits have been swapped for Skype-like video chats.
On Thursday, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office launched a Web-based video-visitation platform that eliminates in-person visitations and expands visitation hours.
The system, developed by Texas-based Securus Technologies, allows people from all over the world to talk to any of the 8,500 inmates in the county's six jails via video, as long as they have a high-speed Internet connection and a webcam.
The Sheriff's Office is offering a promotional price of $5 for a 20-minute conversation, but that price will increase to $12.95 for 20 minutes after Jan. 1.
Securus is paying $2.3million to provide 600 video stations to the six jails at no expense to the taxpayers, according to Securus CEO Rick Smith.
The system, which Securus says is the largest in the country, is expected to generate thousands of dollars for the Sheriff's Office while increasing jail security by eliminating the potential for contraband smuggling, an issue during the more than 20,000 in-person visitations each month, according to sheriff's officials.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio said it will also allow friends and family members to schedule visits without having to miss work or drive down to a facility.
"It's a win for everyone involved," Arpaio said.
Remote visitations can be scheduled seven days a week between 7 a.m. and 9:30 p.m at
visitfromhome.net/maricopa. Visits must be scheduled at least 24 hours in advance.
Inmates can receive one free on-site visit per week, but they will be held through the video platform at either the Fourth Avenue or Lower Buckeye jails.
On-site visitation hours at those jails have expanded to seven days a week between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., up from a single visit on Sunday or Monday.
Sheriff's officials say on-site visits will no longer be conducted at the Durango, Estrella, Tent City or Towers jails, but inmates there have access to video chats.
Securus will receive 100 percent of the revenue until the number of calls reaches 8,000 per month. Ten percent of the excess revenue will then go to MCSO, and that will increase to 20 percent once the company's initial investment is recovered.
Money generated from the system will go toward the Sheriff's Office Inmate Services Fund for education.
The Sheriff's Office will store video calls for 60 days and will monitor calls for criminal or sexual activity.