DALLAS, Oct. 22, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Securus Technologies, a leading provider of civil and criminal justice technology solutions for public safety, investigation, corrections and monitoring, criticized the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decision on inmate rates and suggested it would seek a stay and appeal to the United States Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, to get the entire decision overturned.
"Today, the FCC made a colossal error in judgment, law, and public safety and policy," said Richard A. ("Rick") Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Securus Technologies, Inc. "The FCC has had this issue for over ten (10) years – the issue of high(er) outbound inmate communications rates. The FCC's order that they approved today is patently wrong and is beyond belief given the record established in the proceeding. The order announced, if implemented, will cause smaller and medium-sized prisons and jails to lose the ability for inmates to communicate with friends and family. The lives of witnesses, judges, victims and others will be lost due to the inability to provide the technology that prisons and jails need to keep us safe. In addition, the financial stability of the Inmate Telephone Systems (ITS) sector is clearly threatened."
Securus will participate with ITS carriers in a formal request for stay before the United States Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit and an appeal of the pending order based on these factors that the FCC got wrong:
- The rate caps set by the FCC were set below Securus' costs as presented in its cost study that was done in accordance with the FCC rules, and was conducted by a world-class consulting firm – FTI. The FCC previously applauded the Securus/FTI study based on the quality, timing, and compliance with approved FCC procedures;
- The ancillary fees eliminated and/or reduced by the FCC are outside its jurisdiction, are set below our costs, and are therefore arbitrary and capricious. It appears as though the fees were arbitrarily biased down;
- Moreover, the FCC failed to allow an additive per-minute commission payment to prisons and jails while the record established in this case indicated that commissions are a significant factor in driving rates. Therefore, the FCC, by not taking any action made an arbitrary, capricious and confiscatory decision with respect to commission payments.
Our facility customers, and the ITS providers in our industry, deserve a more equitable decision that is fair to inmates, friends/family members and all of society. The requested stay and appeal of the order will ensure that occurs. Our chance of success is high given the legally flawed nature of the order.
"I have met face-to-face with the FCC more than 25 times in the past 19 months attempting to comply with all of their data requests – and we have given them all of the operational, financial and legal opinion information that they needed to make an informed decision. We made good progress and I thought we had a good compromise, but there are three key issues:
- I agreed to FCC price caps and rates that were reduced by +33%;
- I agreed to FCC fees that were reduced by +50%;
- I asked for a level of commissions for my facility customers that were intended to cover their costs of providing some telecom related services and continuing inmate related programs;
"The FCC disregarded all of our work for a wrong-headed order," said Smith. "I say wrong-headed because the FCC could have fully achieved their mission - which was more affordable inmate rates - but they were not willing to include a relatively small commission adder in the Order which we requested. By not making that part of the Order – they have forced us to get the entire Order stayed and overturned by the appeals process. They indicated they did not have jurisdiction on dealing with commissions, and adding a per-minute amount as a facility cost recovery mechanism for commissions – but I disagree, they just lacked the courage to do it."
"We could have had a great conclusion for all of our work – lower rates, capped and significantly lower fees, and certainty and fairness on commissions. I expect to achieve these – but through the courts versus the FCC," said Smith.
ABOUT SECURUS TECHNOLOGIES
Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and serving more than 3,450 public safety, law enforcement and corrections agencies and over 1,200,000 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.
SOURCE Securus Technologies, Inc.