I've been in two prison systems already, Florida and now Oregon. Despite the miles away, I've made my own investigations and discovered that prison has been so privatized and our families and friends are charged in every corner.
For example, to place money on an inmate's account, they charge $4.50 to $7.50 for up to $100. For the phone, it's up to $2.70 for a 28-minute call. Plus our families are charged for placing phone money, too, another $4.50 or so.
Price gouging is an everyday thing. Things they sell us are marked up very high for off-brand products, cheap stuff that breaks within a week or so. Shoes are sold double of what they're worth on the streets. And normally we get shoes that have a manufacturer's defect, but they charge us double the price. Our regular envelopes cost us 69 cents each, which are pre-stamped. Something so simple that our families can send us.
The one responsible for infiltrating the system across the U.S. is Keefe Group, and for the phones it's Centurylink Corrrections.com and I.C. Solutions for video visits, which cost our families $5.75 each 28-minute visit. And if the system is not working, and you're not able to conduct your video visit due to their system, you're still charged, and when you call they say, "Sorry, no refunds," scamming us every chance they can.
This has to stop. Someone has to care. But because we're inmates, we're the least thought of. I don't expect Holiday Inn treatment, but I think it's a bad concept. Prisoners see this and when released they have set in their mind how they were taken advantage of during their stay while doing time. Once out, they escalate their crimes to bigger and greater because they know if they come back they will be coming to this.
We need change, and my experience has been 20 years incarcerated, since 2000. We can't create monsters. Remember, someday they will be back on the streets of your town.
We need change.