DALLAS, March 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Securus Technologies, a leading provider of civil and criminal justice technology solutions for public safety, investigation, corrections and monitoring, announced today that over the last ten (10) years, it has collected and remitted to jails, prisons, and state, county, and local governments over $1.3 billion in the form of commissions. Commissions are collected from inmates and their family and friends on outbound telephone calls that Securus completes over its proprietary inmate calling platform.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) eliminated commission payouts on interstate long distance calls effective February 11, 2014, and may eliminate or significantly reduce intrastate commissions in 2015 in an effort to reduce calling rates, provide more affordable calling, and reduce recidivism.
"Part of the heritage of our business is that we calculate, bill, and collect commissions and pay those to jails, prisons, and local, county, and state governments," said Richard A. ("Rick") Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Securus Technologies, Inc. "Clearly these commission payments that have been used to fund critical inmate welfare programs and support facility operations and infrastructure have improved the lives of inmates, victims, witnesses and individuals working in the correctional environment, and helped to fund government operations. And it appears, sadly, that regime may come to an end in the not too distant future as a result of probable FCC actions," said Smith.
"The FCC initially eliminated interstate commissions on February 14, 2014, and may eliminate or significantly reduce intrastate commissions in an Order expected in 2015. We have been a vocal advocate of maintaining commissions and have spent approximately $5 million in legal fees and other costs on behalf of our facility customers over more than a decade to maintain commissions, but the FCC maintains that it is not good public policy to have the poorest in society help fund government operations, even though the programs funded are worthwhile."
"No one in the industry was as vocal about defending commissions in the initial rate order as Securus. In fact, it was our lawsuit against the FCC that succeeded in getting many parts of the first order stayed in court. However, if commission payments are eliminated or reduced – we are advocating a transition period that will allow our facility customers to secure funding from other sources or some type of phase-in of the new rules so as not to impact our facility customers – that phase-in is important and we have discussed that with the FCC on numerous occasions."
"The Federal Communications Commission has a tough assignment in trying to balance the needs of inmates and their family and friends, facilities, carriers like Securus, corrections officers, and all of society – a tough assignment for sure! Leave no doubt, Securus will also work hard and fully participate with the FCC to be sure that all of our customers' needs are balanced to the best of our ability," said Smith. "The FCC Commissioners and their staffs understand that facility commissions represent at least 50% of our cost structure – so it continues to be the elephant in the room when lower rates to inmates and friends and family are discussed."
"We provide critical software on our calling platform – approximately 650 different products and features that keep corrections officers, inmates, victims, witnesses, law enforcement, and all of society safe while maintaining critical connections between inmates and their family and friends. We need the FCC to consider the true costs of us providing our services – so we can continue to provide calling in prisons and jails while at the same time making sure that rates are reasonable so inmates can connect with their loved ones. Getting that balance right is critical," added Smith.
ABOUT SECURUS TECHNOLOGIES
Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and serving more than 2,600 public safety, law enforcement and corrections agencies and over 1,000,000 inmates across North America, Securus Technologies is committed to serve and connect by providing emergency response, incident management, public information, investigation, biometric analysis, communication, information management, inmate self-service, and monitoring products and services in order to make our world a safer place to live. Securus Technologies focuses on connecting what matters®. To learn more about our full suite of civil and criminal justice technology solutions, please visit SecurusTechnologies.com.