Securus Technologies today announced that it has provided more than 20 million free phone calls to incarcerated Americans and their families since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The free call offerings are a component of a suite of free and reduced-cost services offered by Securus since correctional agencies across the United States began to implement public health measures designed to curb the spread of the virus in its facilities.
Many facilities restricted in-person visitation to reduce the likelihood of transmission, a move that made the communications services provided by Securus – which include telephone, video, and digital messaging services for incarcerated individuals and their loved ones – even more important. In response, Securus and its agency partners across the country immediately began working together to find a way to make these services more accessible for families.
Together, Securus and those partners implemented an emergency program to provide free calls and services during the pandemic. It was implemented on March 13, the day COVID-19 was declared a national emergency and is still ongoing. Cumulatively, Securus’ total contributions thus far total:
• 20.3 million free call credits for incarcerated individuals and their families, resulting in 153.3 million free minutes of phone connections;
• 4.8 million free video connections to friends and families of incarcerated individuals;
• 9.3 million free JPay Stamps for electronic messaging to more than 447,000 incarcerated individuals.
The program was made possible by working with 397 different agencies who collectively represent 737 sites nationwide. The program goes a step further for individuals who test positive for COVID-19 by providing them with compassion credits. Those credits, which are loaded onto prepaid cards and distributed directly to individuals by the facility partners, provide free Securus phone calls and video connections for the duration of medical care.
At many locations, public defenders are given access to free phone calls to stay connected with their clients. For facilities with these services, Securus has also introduced select movies and game titles at no-cost for individuals. Those titles complement the vast preexisting collection of educational offerings, e-books, podcast, and other materials that are always available at no-cost.
“When we worked with our agency partners to create this program at the beginning of the pandemic, we hoped it would help keep families connected during some of the most turbulent times any of us have ever faced,” said Dave Abel, president and CEO of Aventiv Technologies, parent company of Securus Technologies. “We are very proud to provide relief and help families maintain communications during a time when connections matter most.”
The program is a continuation of an ongoing transformation by Securus Technologies, which is taking a number of steps to improve access to its services. Securus is party to the FCC’s “Keep Americans Connected Pledge” and recently agreed to extend that commitment by another 30 days through the end of July.
The company continues to work with its partners to garner feedback about the situation on the ground. All support from Securus will be in accordance with the latest public health guidelines to ensure that the support is tailored and responsive to the unique needs of the incarcerated community.