is dominated by two private equity-backed companies, Global Tel*Link Corp. and Securus Technologies Inc.Dallas-based Securus Technologies, notably, is the company providing phone service to TDCJ. So Grits was interested to read that federal regulators appear primed to reduce the profit margins of this oligopoly:
Castle Harlan Inc., which owns Securus, declined to comment, Michael Millican, a spokesman, said in an e-mail. Caroline Harris, a spokeswoman for Global Tel*Link owner American Securities, in an e-mail declined to comment.
The companies bid for exclusive contracts to provide telephone service, agreeing to pay as much as two-thirds of calling charges to government or private prison operators. Those commissions can drive fees to levels that make it difficult for prisoners to maintain contact with spouses, children and parents. ...
Global Tel*Link, based in Mobile, Alabama, has about 50 percent of the correctional-phone services market, followed by Securus with almost 30 percent, according to Standard & Poor’s.
U.S. regulators are considering rate caps and other steps to lower jailhouse telephone rates that enrich private equity firms as they cost U.S. prisoners and their families as much as $17 for a 15-minute call.Better late than never, is all Grits has to say about that.
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski yesterday proposed information-gathering that could lead to a vote to intervene in the $1.2 billion prison-phone market, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said at a rally today.
“For far too long, friends and family of the incarcerated have had no choice but to pay unconscionably high long-distance rates,” Clyburn told demonstrators seeking lower rates who gathered outside the agency’s headquarters in Washington.
Clyburn, like the chairman a Democrat, said the proceeding was started by Genachowski and could lead to lower rates “soon,” without specifying a timeline. Rate caps are among steps being considered, said two agency officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the matter hasn’t been made public.