Securus Technologies, the nation’s foremost inmate communications company, has long been the leader in providing low phone rates to the nation’s prisons. The importance of this work is largely underestimated by many but is important, having a proven ability to reduce recidivism rates.
For most of the history of the US prison system, inmates were either unable to access telephones or were forced to pay exorbitant rates in order to call their loved ones. Throughout this history, many inmates had only two options to stay in contact with their families. The first, was through in-person visitation at the prison itself. This was fraught with problems. Many inmates were housed at prisons that were located hundreds of miles away from their home towns, where they were convicted of their crimes. This meant that families often had to travel many hours one way just to see their loved ones. Such trips and entailed huge costs including motel expenses, food and the prospect of being forced to go through the traumatic routines necessary for the prison to run an orderly visitation system.
This all begin to change when, in the mid-2000s, Securus begin rolling out its VoIP-based telephone system. This system allowed for previously unprecedented reductions in average rates inmates were forced to pay. Low rates allowed inmates, for the first time, to say in nearly constant contact with their loved ones. This allowed inmates to remain highly socialized to normal, law-abiding citizens and to maintain standard pro-social norms of behavior. Those inmates who are unable or unwilling to maintain relationships with those on the outside of prison often turn to their fellow inmates for social interaction and psychological support. This often leads to what criminologists refer to as institutionalization, where the inmate is unable to effectively resocialize himself to the norms of society.