Securus Technologies

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Securus Technologies, Inc.
TypePrivate
IndustryCorrections, telecommunications
Founded1986; 35 years ago (1986) (as TZ Holdings Inc.)
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
Headquarters,
U.S.
ProductsPay per call services for American prisons.
OwnerPlatinum Equity
Number of employees
1,000 (estimated)
Websitesecurustech.net

Securus Technologies is a prison communications firm.[1][2] The company has been criticized for developing phone tracking technologies that can be used outside prisons and for charging very high rates for calls, in addition to pushing to mandate the removal of in-person meetings of inmates with their families.[3]

Securus is owned by Beverly Hills-based private equity firm Platinum Equity.[4]

History[edit]

Securus was founded as TZ Holdings Inc. in 1986 in Dallas, Texas. The company changed its name from TZ Holdings Inc. to Securus Technologies in April 2009.[5] During the 2010s, Securus was one of a number of companies which provided telephone service to inmates in US prisons.[6] Securus was partially acquired by ABRY Partners from Castle Harlan in 2013 for $640 million.[7][8] The company was the target of a data breach of about 70 million records of phone calls in July 2015.[9] Since its inception, Securus has acquired 20 government services, software-based businesses, technologies, patents and exclusive partner agreements.[10]

The company was acquired in 2017 by Beverly Hills-based private equity firm Platinum Equity, owned by billionaire Tom Gores.[4] In 2019, Platinum Equity announced plans to reorganize the company as a more diverse technology company, and created Aventiv Technologies as Securus' new corporate parent.[11]

In October 2020, Securus Technologies partnered with Televerde. In this collaboration, Televerde will offer inbound customer service to friends and families of imprisoned people on live support networks, promoting the transition and training Securus users on the use of its goods.[12][13]

Operations[edit]

Securus is headquartered in Dallas, Texas with regional offices located in Carrollton, Texas, Allen, Texas, and Atlanta, Georgia. The company employs approximately 1,000 people and is reported to have contracts with 2,600 correctional facilities in the United States.[14][15]

Communication costs[edit]

Prices for calls vary greatly among institutions, with first-minute charges from over US$5 to 4 cents, and from over US$1 to 4 cents for subsequent minutes.[16] Prices of out-of-state calls were capped by the FCC to around 21 cents per minute; however, instate rates at many jails and prisons continue to be much higher.[17] In 2017, the company announced its Wireless Containment Solution, which was developed to prevent contraband cell phones from connecting to mobile networks.[18] As of November 2017, the company reported that the Wireless Containment Solution system has blocked 1.7 million inmate calls from prisons.[19]

Criticism and controversy[edit]

On May 10, 2018, The New York Times revealed that one of Securus' products can be used to track the location of almost any phone in the US within seconds.[20] Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) has sent letters to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and telecommunications companies demanding answers on the controversial surveillance system.[21] The prison phone industry has been criticized for charging high fees and profiting off of vulnerable inmates.[22][8] In 2019, New York City passed a bill ensuring 21 minutes of free phone calls for all inmates in New York City jails; before the bill, the phone contract with Securus had generated $5 million in revenue for the city and $2.5 million for Securus.[23]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Markowitz, Eric (8 April 2015). "Video Chats Are Replacing In-Person Jail Visits, While One Tech Company Profits". IBTimes. Retrieved 15 April 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "About Us - Securus Technologies". securustech.net. Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  3. ^ Prison Labor: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO), retrieved 2019-09-25
  4. ^ a b "Under pressure from activists, L.A. billionaire's prison telecom announces reforms". LA Times. 2020-01-21. Retrieved 2020-01-22. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "Company Overview of Securus Technologies, Inc". Bloomberg.
  6. ^ Connor, Tracy. "'Huge Step': FCC Slashes Costs of Prison Phone Calls". NBCnews.com. NBC. Retrieved 22 October 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ Dan Primack (April 8, 2013). "Private Equity Deals". Fortune.
  8. ^ a b Williams, Timothy (2015-03-30). "The High Cost of Calling the Imprisoned". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  9. ^ "Dallas-Based Prison Phone Company Securus Hit by Massive Hack". Dallas Observer. November 12, 2015. Retrieved August 2, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ Kirk Falconer (December 1, 2016). "ABRY Partners' Securus Buys PHD Medical's Telemedicine Assets". PEhub.
  11. ^ "Dallas-area company that's targeted prison populations realigns structure, broadens reach". Dallas Business Journal. 2019-10-08. Retrieved 2020-01-22. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ "Securus Technologies Selects Televerde". Martechseries. 21 October 2020. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  13. ^ "New Partnership between Securus Technologies and Televerde Drives Enhancement in Customer Experience and Lead Inbound Client Support". MarTech Outlook. 28 October 2020. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  14. ^ "Prison communications company Securus will no longer require jails to ban in-person visits". Quartz. May 9, 2015. Retrieved August 2, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ "Securus Technologies Inc". PrivCo.
  16. ^ Initiative, Prison Policy. "2018 Phone Rates Survey". www.prisonpolicy.org. Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  17. ^ Initiative, Prison Policy. "State of Phone Justice". www.prisonpolicy.org. Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  18. ^ "Securus Technologies Announces the Activation of Additional Wireless Containment Solution Installation".
  19. ^ Willard Shepard (November 6, 2017). "Ex-Corrections Officer Works to Disconnect Inmates' Cell Phones". NBC Miami.
  20. ^ "Service Meant to Monitor Inmates' Calls Could Track You, Too". The New York Times. 2018-05-10. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  21. ^ "Cops Can Find the Location of Any Phone in the Country in Seconds, and a Senator Wants to Know Why". Motherboard. 2018-05-11. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  22. ^ Initiative, Prison Policy. "State of Phone Justice". www.prisonpolicy.org. Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  23. ^ Greenberg, Zoe (2018-08-06). "Phone Calls From New York City Jails Will Soon Be Free". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-05-04.

External links[edit]