JPay Blog

Prison Privatization, the Public, and JPay

Payout from prison privatizationAs a company that operates in the corrections space, JPay is in the unique position to observe the prevailing trends in the operation and administration of prisons.  One trend that has dominated discourse lately is the privatization of American prisons in an effort to alleviate the cost of running these facilities for state and municipal governments.  Clearly, this has been a polarizing development; many decry the corporatization of incarceration, claiming that privatization is a pathway to “punishment for profit,”  while others cite potential efficiencies that competition and innovation on the open market might usher in.  There are rigid ideologies underpinning each of these positions – hence the polarization – and as a philosophical argument, the relative merits versus drawbacks of privatization may never be reconciled.  In practice, however, there are alternatives to the all-or-nothing prospect of strictly for-profit prisons, or state-run prisons managed with bureaucratic inefficiency.

It is the inefficiency of correctional systems that drives the drumbeat for privatization.  And this inefficiency can be countered with forward-thinking policies and service offerings on the part of correctional agencies.

JPay, at its core, is about providing needed, relevant services to the family and friends of the incarcerated. In many cases, JPay’s solutions relieve the supervising agencies (departments of correction, county sheriff’s offices) of the burden of providing these services themselves.  Electronic funds transfer, for instance, eliminates or partially eliminates the need for corrections staff to post and process physical money orders in order to deposit funds into inmates’ trust accounts.  Inmate email similarly reduces the labor and administrative costs associated with sorting and distributing traditional mail.  Media-based services like video visitation and inmate mp3 players create their own efficiencies (video visitation provides an alternative to visits at the prison, reducing supervisory burdens and decreasing inmate movement; mp3 players contribute to a calmer population) while providing social, rehabilitative, and recidivism-mitigation benefits.

Creating efficiency through technological innovation is the primary benefit enjoyed by correctional agencies that employ JPay’s services, even as those services are designed for the friends and families of inmates.  It is through this creation of efficiency that JPay provides an alternative to prison privatization.

JPay’s services also demonstrate that a free market approach to some aspects of the correctional system need not represent a descent into the corporatization of the penal system.  As a for-profit company, JPay implements a pay-for-service model that relies on friends and family members to pay a fair price for the convenience associated with JPay’s services.  This model is not dependent on increasing incarceration rates, but rather on the relevance and quality of the services provided.  Detractors of privatization are often distracted by the slipperiness of the slope they describe, citing an inherent incentive to grow the prison population; JPay’s communication- and reentry-focused operations stand as a refute to that argument.

Granted, JPay’s business model is just one in a sea of corrections-related vendors and providers.  There may be merit to the charge that private prison operators are incented to keep their prisons full, which leads them to oppose any legislative or social efforts to reduce the incarcerated population (though whether privatization or policy are the chicken or the egg in this scenario is unclear).  Other providers, like commissary companies, may have a different set of incentives altogether.  What JPay does represent, however, is an alternative approach, and an illustration of how technology can drive efficiency even in an industry as rooted in tradition as corrections.

Expanded prison privatization may or may not be the answer for increasingly cash-strapped state and municipal governments.  The argument, however, should be about how to best encourage efficiency in corrections operations, and in that argument, there are many sides.  There are alternatives.



  1. Evelyn Hudson

    October 24, 2012 - 12:35 pm

    To whoever reads this, we need to be outside every prison and ask visitors to sign a petition for lower prices in the prisons and ask that if your child/young adult familymember can be placed closer to where his family is. If enough of us do this and demand that it is adhered to then I think we can make a difference.. Why should the families of offenders have to suffer along with offenders? Let’s make THEM DO WHAT IT DO. What do you think? my email address for anyone interested in starting is I am in Philly, my son is in York County Prison. They have to pay for salt,pepper and such.. Most of these prison whether private or ran by the state recieve monies from the federal government. Why do they penny and dime the inmates and their families???? they make us buy from their vendors who has jacked up prices because they know that shit is needed. We need to send a message……

  2. Jimmy Hollingsworth

    October 14, 2012 - 4:10 pm

    I have now been dealing with the “privates” in Louisiana & Mississippi for some-time now, & who’d ever thunk how much more the State’s Civility, Common-Courtesy, & Basic Human Dignity would shine thru. CCC=Corporate Greed

  3. Kathy Allen

    October 12, 2012 - 3:00 am

    Dear Donna, try not to do this while you are frustrated. But do a search on “cyber begging” I know that sounds awful, but the sites are cropping up like crazy. You can explain your son’s mental condition and your financial problems. If he did get disability they take it if the person sadly goes to jail or prison. But they will give him medications so please don’t worry about that part. As for sending him money go to these sites and politely ask for help. Some people are helping people with a lot of things, every bit counts. You might even find an attorney who will look into his case? No promise of course but you never know what good person out there will be willing to help. Good luck, and best wishes to your son. Please tell him to channel his time into a lot of drawing and art. It helps. If you want you can post where to write him and get him pen pals so he gets mail and people will understand that he cannot respond, but it would be nice to get greeting cards or even photos of people who write him. They do have books inside so don’t worry he won’t get reading material because he will. Just try to get him pen pals for now to ease HIS worries and he’ll know people care. All the best. -Kathy

  4. S. Robinson

    October 11, 2012 - 8:45 pm

    Please know that Jehovah God cares about us as well as our loved ones who are in the community behind the fence. He promises to make all things new by means of His Kingdom. That’s why we are encouraged to keep on praying for God’s Kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.The blessings in heaven will soon come to the earth. Daniel 2:44 gives us hope. Also Isaiah 65:17-25 supports our wonderful hope for a better just future. No matter what we go through, it is vital that we trust in the one who made us and know that he will fulfill his purpose in which he made the earth and everything that is on it.(Proverbs 3:5,6 and Titus:1:2) Including YOU!!!

  5. Tammy

    October 5, 2012 - 10:45 pm

    My heart truly goes out to all of you who’ve written on this blog. As family members of loved ones in the penal system, we KNOW first-hand the injustices within the entire legal system, from the prisons right on down to the cop on the street. What we need are solutions. Individually we can’t do a thing but collectively you’d think we could. It’s true that America has the largest percentage of prisoners in the world. That means there’s even more family members out here with the potential to make changes. It’s time for the people to stand up to this charade they call “justice.” Any ideas?


    October 4, 2012 - 1:41 am

    My son has learning disability’s, and was advised to plead guilty. his attorney did nothing before his trial. What witnesses he had, I contacted and did all the work, just a few days before his trial. He had never been in trouble in his life, and he got 25 years!Everyone knew he had the mentality of a 3rd grader!! but his paid attorney did nothing!!!!
    The good “ol” boys had already decided before he ever went to trial, and as his Mother I was financially drained. There was no advocate for my mentally delayed son, because he wasn’t retarded enough!!! Now I’m the one being punished because when I send him money, they take out a % for his court cost and fine!
    I go to visit him, it cost a fortune for a drink, or a snack. Half the time the machines don’t work and keep the money.The family suffers financially. I can’t send him anything because it all has to go thru prison approved expensive places.Why can’t I send my son books!!Or socks,!stamps envelopes!! All double the cost thru the prison approved stores.

  7. Judith Harrington

    October 3, 2012 - 11:32 am

    I agree with the blog on most issues. Jpay helps, no doubt. What I don’t get is why Crowley County (Colorado) Correctional Facility, which is owned by CCA, only offers emessaging & inmate account deposits–NOT virtual visits and NOT MP3 music. Can anyone tell me which facilities–public (CDOC) or private (CCA)–offers these newer (& gratefully received) features? Also: Why would one facility receive the rehabilitation benefits of more face-time visits via virtual contacts and the opportunity of listening to music–which cost the system nothing since we pick up the tab and Jpay provides the service?

  8. NMS

    October 2, 2012 - 6:00 pm

    I have had three nephews incarcerated in Michigan at different times. People should be punished for the crimes the commit.

    Punishment should be implemented efficiently, as cost effectively as possible, and civilly.

    I have come to appreciate Jpay for the modernized services it provides to incarcerated people in U.S. state prisons and their families and supporters. Being able to communicate with, send money to, and order goods for loved ones has become increasingly reliable and trustworthy.

    I STILL believe very strongly that WHOLESALE corporatization of incarceration in the U.S. will indeed provide an inevitable pathway leading to “punishment for profit.” There ARE potential efficiencies that competition and innovation on the open market CAN unquestionably provide. Things that can be implemented efficiently and cost effectively SHOULD be in all U.S prisons.

    But ONLY with the strict oversight and scrutiny of the U.S. citizenry and the U.S. congress.

  9. Dawn Warfield

    October 2, 2012 - 10:45 am

    I agree with you all, and especially leticia. the prison system is one big money making machine. In the end all God’s people will be incarcerated or put to death,… it’s the New Holy Roman Empire, all over again.Vengence is the lords and our true treasures will be with him,..the ones that are doctoring up the books and filling thier pockets, well that is thier only reward. You can’t really blame individuals, each just does his job, but the guys at top got the algebra all worked out. I wish the ones who determine the statutes mandatory sentencing could do just a couple days incarcerated to relize just how much time time really is. each moment is painfull to miss our loved ones and the system is sentencing us as well

  10. Tedd Mayes

    September 21, 2012 - 11:19 am

    Privatization of prisons creates for-profit business in many states. The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world and imposes longer sentences on non-violent crimes than other western nations would impose. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer owns stock in the for-profit prison corporation CCA which operates 6 prisons in AZ. Her “Papers Please” law stands to send many illegal aliens to those prisons. Conflict of interests? Not where her stock values are concerned!

  11. Mandy Mullinix

    September 20, 2012 - 9:26 pm

    I was reading the comment above about the woman who was convicted within ten mins and sentenced in 13 to life in prison for murder. She said the victim had money and pull by working in the system. I don’t know if the man convicted was guilty or not. However, I attended law school for cpl years and they make no bones about the fact that they’re dirty (for lack of better words.) It states in the books that the prosecutors trade out cases with the D.A. simply to boost their careers. It so often has holds no relevance towards the case. If they do that then why wouldn’t they take it to further extremes. It’s absolutely ridiculous! We are talking about peoples lives and they worried about their job!

  12. Sherry Hickman

    September 15, 2012 - 4:21 pm

    My son got 4 years 11 months and has never even spent a nite in jail. I am ready to DIE! The Judge he had is corrupt, from the police to the Judge is and was lies! How can a Judge who has got caught STEALING $ from a CHARITY be able to JUDGE anyone but Himself!
    Oh, There’s gonna be one hell of a fight!

  13. J Hense

    September 12, 2012 - 7:56 pm

    My fiance is in PRISON right now for being a traffic offender. Nothing serious just a few traffic stops, and they are wondering why prison’s are overpopulated. Where is the rehabilitation in the? How does prison correct (Department of Corrections) or rehabilitate a traffic offender? Before long they will put us in prison for picking our nose the wrong way and have 8,000 people in a prison that only houses 900 people. Prison for a traffic offender tells me that our legal systems are corrupted. I can understand if one was drinking and driving but not prison for a few traffic stops

  14. Arabella

    September 12, 2012 - 7:54 am

    Privatization is allll about $$$, knowing from first hand experience, dealing with my childrens’ father. I remember a jar of peanut butter for ex., was $8.50! This is in Louisiana. Rehabilitation not institutionalization! Your comments are all valid and I couldnt stop reading them. Susans comments stuck with me. But you are basically all correct, in my opinion. Things like the three strike law and the doubling of time for each felony for example in La., four felonies down thru your entire life since 17, for ex., a 5 year sentence can be “quadruple billed” and you would receive 20 years FLAT time! Violent, or non, doesn’t matter. He’s back in there again, my kids’s dad, His facility is not on Jpays list, unfortunately, but I applaud them and their efforts. I’ve been able so stay in touch with a great friend of mine, and he can also easily talk to and see pix of his friends and family. I could go on forever but I’m sleepy but keep fighting the good fight 🙂 A good forum to get info and speak on is Non profit but it used to really lift my spirits when my kids’ father was in jail doing awhile. It’s extremely informative and u can pick your state and talk about all kinds of issues. Love & prayers to all 🙂 God bless all those with loved ones locked up. I’ve been dealing with my baby daddy’s legal troubles my whole life so I definitely feel your pain! God Bless you all! Xoxo ~Bella

  15. patti

    September 3, 2012 - 10:20 am

    The current system is nothing more than human trafficking.The 3 Strikes Law and sentencing enhancements in Ca are draconian.The recidivism rate in Ca is 70% because the system does nothing to rehabilitate or correct.The 3 Strikes Law needs to be abolished.Our prisons are filled with low level non violent offenders because of plea bargaining and mandatory sentencing. The people of Ca should be outraged that the State would rather focus on filling our prisons instead of funding our schools.And now the outsource of its inmate population to others states and privatization is a slap in the face to the taxpayers of CA.

  16. paula rodgers

    September 1, 2012 - 11:16 pm

    i live in Missouri in Crawford County where they make their own laws depending on who you are.My husband and I were arrested in 1998,no search warrent,statements that we bought our house for cash for the sole purpose of making and selling drugs.We had a mortgage and had lived there three weeks even though the officer swore we had been there for a year.I recieved five years probation and sent to prison four times due to the fact my prescription meds caused false positives,they knew there was a study that proved it,i was sent to prison for a laws violation without a new case.Even though disabled i had to report weekly cause i didn’t have a job.We filed a lawsuit against the law officers due to our civil rights being violated in which we had the same Judge and Prosecutor from our criminal case for the civil case without a court reporter for the civil case.My five year sentance took 12yrs even though i had over four years probation time credit.Our laws need to be fair to everyone from the P.O.s,Judges,parole board and prison

  17. SARA

    August 21, 2012 - 9:12 pm

    like mark said they are gonna guarantee the inmaes to fill these prisons. they already do that. they use well trained c.i who no exactly how to articulate a beaware they are everywhere. if we would’nt of experienced it we would of never believed it. now my husband the primary source of income and my only physical sopport faces 2-4 years. the man on ssi and has a very lengthy criminal background walks. this is why the drugs are still all over and innocent people are killed and robbed

  18. Lady AJ

    August 20, 2012 - 7:49 pm

    Great blog! I would suggest we all write every one of our congressional representatives…from the President down to bring this to their attention. Yes, they may already be aware but its an election year. Even if we don’t vote lets flood congress with emails to bring attention to the plight of the incarcerated! Find your reps emails (they prefer emails) at, put in your zip and mail away!

  19. alan perez

    August 13, 2012 - 8:15 am

    I have in the past spent almost two decades in prisons in Georgia and the CCA prison i did 2 years at was extremely well run, had a great library, very good food, polite staff, air conditioning, dvd movies all weekend long and a great educational program that taught me carpentry and electrical. While many private prisons do not have the same rep, in Alamo Georgia I was treated with total respect and prospered.

  20. mmm

    August 6, 2012 - 1:17 pm

    cory: Private prisons have nothing to do with Dems or Reps.It has to do with money and state budgets.The private prisons have to much incentive to keep prisoners locked up for long as they can and that’s not right not matter who you vote for.
    I always thought Dems wanted to privatize the military and police forces-probably another misconception…

  21. Leticia Gonzalez

    August 5, 2012 - 4:11 pm

    Be nice! There seems to be a lot of errors with money carelessly being payed out. I have to wonder about who checks and balances for the state prison facilities. I think we need a new deal with accountants and bookeepers.

  22. Leticia Gonzalez

    August 5, 2012 - 3:53 pm

    What this system needs is a new set of bookeepers with no conflicts of interest and easy access to the invoices for all to see.

  23. Lucy

    August 5, 2012 - 1:45 pm

    Reading some of the post here are very saddening, and aggravating…it seems as though in the end big money will win in the prison system sooner or later…as it have in every other American sector……we all can agree I’m sure that criminals deserve a just punishment for their crimes but, where does the punishment end? All I have to say is this… America incarcerates more of its citizens than any other country….so, it will only be a matter of time before you or one of your family members is in this situation….humane treatment is a matter of human dignity. Incarcerated persons are dehumanized by, other incarcerated individuals, guards, the environment, and from being denied basic mental and emotion supports, like quality food and rehabilitative pursuits in the prisons…hunger is rampant because the foodservice has been privatized within the prison, (this includes..every prison in Indiana) system with adult prisoners being fed child size portions of sustenance which is of poor quality, which leads to prisoners trading, bargaining or begging for food from other inmates which leads to another whole level of depravity between those that have family members that can support them while in prison and those that don’t…(Many families pay a high cost to supplement food to their loved one’s through a pay for food system set-up by the prisons through another privatized system). Humans will do alot of things..when they are hungry….and believe me “dignity and respect” are the first things that get laid by the wayside in such a system…

  24. Lucy

    August 5, 2012 - 1:42 pm

    Its so nice of Jpay to allow families to post comments about the prison system….too bad this is a closed system, where the comments do no good in promoting change…if jpay really wanted to promote and assist families they would reduce their fee to send immates funds and forward these post to our congressmen, the real controllers of our politics and prisons.

  25. Lena

    August 3, 2012 - 7:24 pm

    I wanted to follow up on the comment I made about instant credit to the inmate’s account. It seems that, at least in Oregon, there is a ‘inmate trust’ department the money goes through before it is transferred to the inmate. I’m not sure what that is all about but it does get to the inmate within a day so that’s great. Instant would be even better but I don’t think that is an issue with JPAY but rather with the state’s process.

  26. cory

    August 1, 2012 - 8:31 am

    Why is it that jpay allow the comments they want and not all. I wrote a comment earlier and thay did put in the blog. Is it because I wrote my opinion of privatizatio and how these prisons are own by the Republicans and Wall Street. Another way of stealing from the American people. Jpay dont you support the first amendment (freedom of speech).

  27. Lena

    August 1, 2012 - 7:50 am

    I like what JPAY is doing here, at least introducing and encouraging dialogue for a really troubling issue. I also realize JPAY stands to lose in the privatization world. I’m not for privatization, especially after reading some of these comments based on personal experiences. However, just to be clear JPAY stands to gain as much as any other vendor with an increase in prison population: more prisoners; more transactions. But having said that, I like that your fee is relatively low and you’ve made the process as easy as you can possible make it, or so it was that way for me. But you can still improve. One way is to make the money instantly available to the inmates. There is no reason why they should have to wait a day or two. Forgive me if I’m suspicious.

    Regardless, I really applaud you for doing this, opening up a dialogue about privatization.

    I am a reluctant and unintentional newcomer to this world. I’m not very happy about it either, but I’m trying to deal with it in my own way. One way I’m dealing with it is to care, a lot, about what is happening within the DOC and DOJ world, and how it has hit my life, affecting me in ways I could not have dreamed up before now.

    I like Susan’s comments. I do care. We’ve become a prison nation, among other things, and we need to evolve….

  28. Cory

    August 1, 2012 - 12:40 am

    Privatization, is a joke. It will not save tax payers money, our tax money will still pay for these prisons upkeep and staff. The only thing that the republican party wants is money.Republicans want all prisons to become private because they will make profits from them. Some of these private prisons are owned by Wall Street, so what do you see there.e My son was in a private prison at Mineral Wells where we had to pay for his clothing. Of course we couldn’t send them clothes from any store it had to b e through catalogue. These department stores also profit from the inmate’s families. Of course you understand that in order to make a profit they need so many inmates. What does this mean? It means that more innocent people will be sent to prison. So instead of rehabilitation they want recividism to occur. The more inmates the more profit these people will get. They will ship them as far as possible from their families to mess up their morale, which cost tax payers a lot of money. They have a state jail in El Paso where you can remain for 2 years yet they ship you all across Texas, as far as possible away from family. Then after a few months they ship you farther away. Can you tell me where the logic is. They say they want the inmates to have family visit, with the economy who can afford to go all across Texas. We don’t need more prisons we need more rehab programs. Like the ones George Bush and the celebrities got to go and never did any prison time. Yes, some inmates do need to do hard time but if you are a DWI/DUI or Drug offences not committing a death you should go to rehab programs.Nobody gets rehabilitated in prison instead they become institutional. Prisons should be for Murderers, Child Molesters, hard core offenders. But of course we know that prisons are not there to help or rehabilitate but to make money and to keep offenders locked up. We should learn from other countriew. You read about Republicans being pro-life yet they are the ones who want the death penelty, like Rick Perry, George Bush, Jeb Bush, etc. Justice is for the rich Anglo, the rich and for those who can afford it. We need advocates to get rid of the Private Prisons. Are there any advocacies or petitions out there? I would love to sign one. Let them hear our voices.

  29. Jeff

    July 5, 2012 - 10:10 am

    All prison is a horrible situation. Private, public, state, local or federal. My brother in law is locked up in Texas at a very notorious prison. We went to visit him awhile ago and worked with the staff to ensure our visit would be set up. After feeling that all of our paperwork was in order and e-mailing him to tell him of our plans we were denied a visit. We literally drove 14 hours to see him and left dissapointed and dissalusioned.

    We are thankful for jpay that we were able to update him our status. We can blame it on the admin staff of the prison or anything else that we want. The bottom line is sometime God knows better and put our faith in that. Prison sucks for everyone involved. Prisoners are viewed as second rate citizens as most of us know on this blog. There is a real person with real life circumstances behind all the numbers that are pumped out by state justice departments. There are families who save up all year just to see a loved one. While I believe there are major improvements that needed to be addressed like rehabilitation and recidivism I just don’t believe it’s a priority of this country. It takes active members on these boards to lend a voice to a silent majority who are shunned by society.

  30. Tracey

    July 3, 2012 - 7:08 pm

    I love that JPay allows me to stay in touch with my best friend. He was railroaded as well. He is in Allen Correctional in Ohio. Never been in trouble in his life but was with the wrong people at the wrong time that already had records and place the blame on him, he received mandatory 20 to life. Family has been ripped off by 6 lawyers and have nothing left. He has 5 more years for the 20 but then I heard the Parole Board isnt that great either now both of his parents are dead so I have done my best to keep his spirits up and JPay helps a lot. I cant imagine if they decide to privatize then I might have to cut back on my contact as well. I cant even find a Ohio firm for pro bono cases on criminal issues. Its too bad that ACI doesnt allow me to purchase the JP3 for $39.99 but I can order a MP3 from Access for $120. JPay keep up the good work and push harder to get the other contracts cancelled

  31. Muminah

    July 2, 2012 - 11:41 am

    I am looking for people who’s loved one’s are being treated unfarily in the privatized institutions. I have several letters from Inmates in an Ohio prison who are being denied mediacal treatment, being forced to eat food that their reglion prohibits them from eatting and the list goes on. If you or anyone you know is having a problem please contact me immediately so we can make things happen. I made a few simple phone calls and am seeing things change but I want to help everyone who is at their witts end.

  32. Florence Cathcart

    June 27, 2012 - 6:38 pm

    I really appreciate the convenience that JPAY affords us in sending money and messages to our loved ones. Privitization of prisons is just wrong in my opinion. Its a for-profit company that will only look at the bottom line. If that means more money in their pocket by depriving inmates of good food, classes and recreation than that’s what they do. There is no such thing as “rehabilitation” any more, it is all just keeping men locked up. Then they quote recidivism rates when they have done nothing to prevent recidivism.

  33. kathy

    June 18, 2012 - 8:41 pm

    Thank you for being there. My son also had a court appointed attorney who used to be a DA. I don’t feel he did his job for my son, there wasn’t any evidence and after 1 1/2 yrs of going through everything and keeping my son torn all the time, this so called attorney (who is friends with the judge) talked him into pleading no contest, to get less time. It involved a teenage girl, but, she was the one who was the agresser, when a man is passed out drunk and wakes to her doing things, then has a way of making sure she gets her way, then when there comes a time she doesn’t, she tells mommy & daddy that they had a relationship and she just can’t lie anymore. He was a friend of her parents, they lied to me and the court about things, I was told by the mother, we are not going to do anything to him, we want him to come over and help us convince her to say she’s lying. A friend of his drove by the house and the cops were there. Not going to do anything huh! yea right. She also told some lies in court that I know about. She set him up, and they set out to destroy him. They have turned all his friends against him, and he is 6 hours away from his family, when he requested two facilities between his wife and 3 children and his parents, they put him 2 hrs from his wife and 6 hours from the rest of his family. His dad is disabled and cannot drive that far, but who cares, he’s marked as a child molester for the rest of his life, even though, he had never been in trouble before, even though she was the agresser, if it was a boy doing this to a woman, it would have been called RAPE, but, the incompentancy of our judicial system does not look at the facts. She is getting away without having correction or anything else. God will take care of people like this family, he says vengence is mine. I know how alot of you feel here, it’s been a hard pill to swallow and I am just glad that JPAY helps the way they do for us families, they seem to be the only ones that do care.

  34. A. Deleon

    June 16, 2012 - 10:37 pm

    Iwould like to say thanks Jpay for allowing the inmates incarcerated in TDC to have a easier way for us family members to keep in touch; i have my youngest brother who has been in prison for 12 years on a 15 year sentce; his first time ever in trouble with the Law or place in jAIL OR PRISON; YES IT IT HORRIBLE THAT MONEY TALKS and its a shame cuz he had to plea bargain for a lighter sentence or else he would have been doing probably a 40 year sentence; he was appointed a state court appointed attorney who chose to sentence him and I feel it was so unjust and unfair cuz he had never even got a traffic ticket prior to be convicted of a aggravated case; well there is a god and I believe my b rother will be free after doing 3 more years and the state will not be able to say he owes them a darn thing; thanks for allowing us to voice our opinions and to send emails and money through Jpay; and to all family members and friends who know or write to an inmate don’t give up hope cuz you and I are all they have to look forward to each day; God Bless you all…………….

  35. Tormented

    June 13, 2012 - 10:08 am

    This is where I would put my foot down on the Public vs Private. For the most part I am all for privatization, but in the case of Prisons ~~ NOW WAY. Here in Arizona we have several Private Prisons run by a For Profit Company GEO Group. What a JOKE! They pay their workers minimum wage they have not had a raise in 8 YEARS!! The Warden and staff has a very high turn over rate and nickle and dime EVERYTHING that is suppose to be for the inmates. I know of a MASTERS DEGREE’d Counselor who was counseling GROUPS of inmates ~ 40+ to a class on drug and alcohol abuse who was paid 13.30 and hour. This Private Prison consistently cut corners at the inmates expense. I say NO TO PRIVATE PRISONS!!!


    June 6, 2012 - 9:44 pm


  37. Jack

    June 3, 2012 - 12:32 pm

    I believe prison privatization is a bad thing, but I like what jpay is doing. My first reaction was that it was just another attempt to take money from the families of prisoners, like the the GTL phone service which charges exorbitantly and gives very little service. But I now find that jpay e-mail provides a lot of value. It is cheaper and faster than the mail and has allowed me to communicate better with my brother who is in Marion Correctional Institute.

    I find that the officers at the prison care very little about the prisoners. It seems they feel that because prisoners committed crimes they don’t deserve the minimum of effort to make their lives a better. For example, if you forget to put the prisoners number on a letter, they will send it back even though they could easily look it up. They take an inordinate amount of time to process the mail and make the prisoners come every day to ask if they have mail rather that notifying them in some way. The whole operation is poorly managed and no one cares. I commend jpay for devising a system that even these poorly motivated employees can use and deliver messages efficiently. I like the system where the inmate can reply for free and with a pre paid and bar coded piece of paper. This leaves very little that the correction officers have to do.

    I believe that the prison system should itself devise better ways for inmates to communicate with their families. That is their job. They are not there to further punish inmates and their families. It is better for the prisons and for society if inmates can keep these family ties. In the absence of any effort on the part of the prison system to facilitate communication, I am happy that jpay can be of help and make a modest profit.

  38. Anna B.

    June 1, 2012 - 9:47 am

    This is my 1st time making a comment onto here. My husband is currently at Madsion Correctional Institution on Ohio! His name is Thomas Butts, yet he will be coming home on UIne 10,2012..

  39. Sandra J

    May 29, 2012 - 5:10 am

    I felt the NEED to make a comment regarding the PREVIOUS comment by Tammy. Firstly, my 71 year old husband IS a white male and DID have a clean record… but lacked the momma and daddy with $ & connections. The victim, however, DID have $ & connections (his sister was the District Clerk of the county, for example. SHE “summoned the jurors”!) It took the jury ALL OF 10 minutes to accuse him of 1st Degree Murder… not enough time to even select a Foreman, much less read instructions. However, they did spend a little more time… 13 minutes, in sentencing him to LIFE. i MUST AGREE THAT THE WORD “JUSTICE” WAS LAUGHABLE!!
    Back to the original subject, as others have mentioned above, to incarcerate harmless people in the name of PROFIT is about as OBVIOUS as we can get. I’d say, LET’S NOT GO THERE!

  40. Tammy

    May 18, 2012 - 11:44 am

    The whole justice system is a joke, and so is the DOC. It is ALL for profit,and unless u are a white male with a “clean record” and have a Momma or Daddy with $ and connections, you WILL NOT win….the whole system is dirty….

  41. Shannan M

    May 17, 2012 - 3:30 am

    I just read while studying the Death Penalty for class, that since the privatizing of state prisons, the amount of incarcerations went up from 3 million to 7.3 million just in the last decade! It is all for profit!

  42. nina herron

    May 14, 2012 - 3:33 pm

    i’ve been reading every thing that ‘s been written here and and think part of the problems are the way they sentence . people and how the D.A ‘s people have endless money to do things , I have a husband in prison for the first time in his life He’s 70 . The fact that he was 68 at the time he messed up and that there was things the lawyer told me not to say . that might up set the judge but would of made it better for my husband case , and not having any one to talk to thought the whole thing and told not to talk to any one We now have a lawyer who

    has said we were rail roaded and hes working for free for us . until we all get fair legal help people will go to prison . there should be in programs . or getting help else were . prison are big business .it’s my hope that this deals of plea bargains will not stand We accept one and when the judge ask my husband if he was offer any thing the lawyer told him to say no . !!! but we did have one or so we were told !!this isn’t the way its supposed to work . Now the supreme court has ruled that plea bargains are legal and must be honored So let hope it happens . thank you for listening

  43. Ms. Mia

    May 8, 2012 - 12:32 am

    Prison and county jails are already expensive enough as it is. JPay itself does make things slightly cheaper for family members and when a father who is the breadwinner leaves the picture and heads to prison it puts a financial strain on the family. In my personal experience with things get privatized they get more expensive and not necessarily more efficient. I was basically ignorant of the workings of the DOC as a whole until I got with my current fiancee due to a ‘good ol boy/its all who yah know’ mentality in my home town and me being the niece of the prosecutor meant I knew someone. Being connected kept me out of trouble and now the County Sweetheart is engaged to the County Troublemaker. While privatization would POSSIBLY eliminate things like that gold ole boy network it would most likely increase the cost of already expensive necessities like phone calls, commissary and the like. It is once again a case where we must weigh the pros and cons carefully before choosing the lesser of the evils for the good of all. Yes it costs a lot for the state to house an inmate but considering it costs $1.50 for my fiancee to buy one package of ramen noodles I have a feeling they’re making the money up somewhere

  44. Editor

    May 7, 2012 - 8:38 am

    Thank you very much for your insight, Susan. We appreciate the comments!

  45. Susan

    May 7, 2012 - 12:12 am

    I am a former TDCJ Correctional Officer and have seen the good and bad in most all situations where prison confinement and the state run institutions are not compatible. In many ways people will always be the same in that they have little disregard for someone’s life regardless of the circumstances in which put them in prison. I have seen the worst in both the inmate population and the correctional staffing population. I believe until someone does something to rehabilitate them both nothing will change. In realizing the prison system is suppose to do what it takes to rehabilitate inmates and not house them the recidivism will continue. The lack of placements in the inmates home locations or even close also causes problems. No visitations in over 18 years for one inmate in question. Family doesn’t have the money to drive all the way across the state of Texas and much less get a hotel room once there. How is this type of placement suppose to show any ability for family support? There are so many issues to be addressed whatever the answer is, it isn’t a mere change in who guards who or who they work for that will change this. The reality is simple….long hard choices have to be made and someone has to care! I don’t see that at all!!

  46. Emily

    April 28, 2012 - 1:50 am

    A few years back i volunteered at a state prison. At the end of the program I planned a graduation/party for the INMATES/fathers (parenting class) The party consist of dinner, graduation, cake and family fun time…to try and put our new parenting skills in action (games, puzzles, sidewalk chalk etc) I had everything donated catered meals, prizes for kids (at christmas every child left with a gift) The last year i did my program the “state” had to step in and wouldnt allow us to bring the food in because the food company the used had a contract. So that Christmas dinner was the same food that the offenders had everyday,(no special reward for the hard work) and it cost the program $3500– all of which had been completly donated the 8 yrs prior.. (and you know those daddys would of rather had “gma’s beef n noodles”!! I know as a facilitor i would of rather spent the 3500 on supplies to improve the program or to help the families that were in financial trouble since dad was away. maybe used the money to help buy phone cards for dad to talk to kids etc. Very frustrated with the use of money in this situation.

  47. Shalanda R.

    April 20, 2012 - 7:59 pm

    Privatization is a bad idea simply because the state is still paying these private companies. True the correctional system definitely needs an overhaul but passing the buck to private companies that are fighting tooth and nail for less and less regulation is not a good idea. When it comes to business the goals are as follows: to make a profit, and to keep costs down. So therefore these private companies that are coming to “save” our correctional system will be operating under the same premise. And considering the lack of concern and interest by the public and some of the inhumane treatment already going on in the system I feel it will only get worse when a “for profit” system takes over. I thank God George Bush didn’t get to privatize Social Security before the economy went over the cliff. that sounded like a good idea too at the time to some people

  48. Bonnie Folk

    April 20, 2012 - 4:09 am

    I Agree with this statement, and would like to know How I can STOP Privatization in Florida? Are There petitions? many Things about Florida’s State Run System are HARSH to say the least, and Many Inmates Say the Private prisons are Better. But, as You Point out, For PROFIT INCARCERATION is Unacceptable! I will look forward to hearing from you with ANY Suggestions I might Play as a Family member!
    Bonnie Folk

  49. Scorpiyon8

    April 19, 2012 - 4:52 pm

    My thoughts exactly… I concur. Well said.

  50. David Meyers

    April 19, 2012 - 12:51 pm

    One example of why privatization of prisons is a bad idea is that CCA (Corrections Corp of America) recently proposed to 48 states that they would like to take over running state prisons (to save the states money) and, in return, each state prison would house at least 1000 inmates and the states would guarantee a 90% occupancy rate for the next 20 years.

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