Ex corrections officer teams up with Securus Technologies to fight contraband cell phones

Working in any of the nation’s maximum security prisons ranks as one of the most psychologically demanding and physically dangerous jobs in America. Each year, dozens of prison guards die in the line of duty. It is these brave men and women who mark the only thing keeping some of the most vicious and violent criminals in the world from smashing, beating and stealing their way into the lives of innocent civilians.

 

There are few men and women who hear the calling to become prison guards. It is a job that most will quit in their first year. Even among those who see themselves as brave and mentally tough enough to handle the job, most will not last. It takes a special combination of emotional impermeability mixed with genuine empathy and compassion to make a good corrections officer – the thickest skin mixed with the biggest heart is required equipment for this job.

 

Robert Johnson was one of the few people who had all the right attributes to be a successful corrections officer. A few years after graduating from high school, Johnson applied to the Florida Department of Corrections. He was hired on and sent to one of the toughest maximum security facilities in the state.

 

There, he proved to be a capable officer, quickly rising through the ranks. By the time he was 30, Johnson was a commanding officer of one of FDOC’s SERT teams, a special group of officers that is sent in to do the jobs that are too dangerous or difficult for normal corrections officers.

 

While heading this team, Johnson was involved with a routine search of an inmate’s cell. The search turned up a package containing a powder substance, which was later confirmed to be nearly pure heroin. The value of the drugs was estimated at around $50,000 on the street, making the package worth some $250,000 inside the prison.

 

Word quickly spread to the gang for whom the package was intended that Johnson was the officer responsible for the seizure. With a reputation of being impossible to bribe, the gang knew that they would only risk criminal charges by attempting to bring Johnson into their fold.

 

One morning, as he was preparing for work, a gunman broke down the front door of Johnson’s home, shooting him six times at nearly point-blank range. Though Johnson survived, he is now disabled and can no longer work as a corrections officer.

 

It was later revealed that the gang put out a hit using a contraband cell phone. Today, Johnson works with Securus Technologies selling the Wireless Containment System, which, if it would have been installed at the prison where Johnson worked, would have disabled the cell phone used to place the hit on him.

 

The Services Of Securus Are Far Superior To Global Tel Link

I’ve heard all these horror stories when it comes to calling an incarcerated individual. Government contracts award telecommunications services to particular companies to form monopolies. When you call an inmate, you have no choice but to use the prison’s chosen telecommunications company.

 

This makes for all sorts of problems for most people because 80% of the industry is lorded over by Global Tel Link. The company even sounds like it has an evil name. Global Tel Link is run by shareholders looking to maximize profits. It doesn’t care about the human impact of their decisions and it shows. They’ve recently been in hot water because they were caught charging $17 for a 15-minute phone call. They’ve also been sued over hidden fees that can all add up to hundreds of dollars.

 

But I got lucky. My sister is incarcerated in a prison that is run by Securus Technologies. This company has been really easy to deal with. Phone calls are pricey but they are reasonable. The phone call quality is also very high. None of my calls have dropped and there are no hidden fees. All the complaints I’ve heard about Global Tel Link just aren’t there with Securus.

 

Securus even runs the biggest customer service call center in the industry. It can handle more than 2 million calls per month. Most calls are answered within 10 seconds and most problems are resolved on the first call. It’s all backed up by accreditation by the Better Business Bureau. The company even carries an A+ rating with the BBB.

 

They even have this software that makes me feel like my sister’s in good hands. All the phone calls made into the prison are recorded and saved for law enforcement. The software can search the recordings for a single person’s voice or a phrase to help law enforcement prevent crimes.

 

How Securus Technologies Changed the Way Jails Protect Officers

I can say from experience that working in a jail is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. On any given day, inmates are looking for any opportunity to make a name for themselves at the expense of officers. If we were to put down our guard for a second, inmates could really make a bad situation a life-threatening one.

 

To help make my life safer in the jail, there are several things that we as officers do to combat the efforts of the inmates. The violence escalates when you add drugs and weapons to the mix, and these items are easily accessible to inmates even in jail. Ask any inmate, they will tell you that they can get their hands on drugs and weapons more easily when in jail than on the streets. This is where we focus our efforts each day.

 

My team works the visitors section of the jail each day to make sure tat these people are not trying to bring things into the jail that put us all at risk. Even with a strong police presence, many visitors will risk going to jail themselves in order to supply the inmates with what they need. If an order comes down from high-level gang members, soldiers on the street jump to do whatever is asked of them.

 

Recently, Securus Technologies installed a communication system for the inmates that gives us a deeper ability to monitor calls unlike any time in the past. Now when inmates talk, regardless how they try to disguise the conversation, the LBS software tips us off to something happening. On a number of occasions we discovered who was giving the orders, who was bringing the drugs, and when they were going to make an attempt.

 

Securus Technologies allows our officers in the jail an added layer of protection.