Among guards, inmates and their family members, one of the most important and wildly popular innovations to hit the prison market over the last decade has been Securus Technologies’ video visitation. This system was first rolled out approximately 10 years ago, after Securus had spent hundreds of millions of dollars of its own money to research and develop the system. The system has proven to be enormously popular with inmates, leading many to stay in nearly constant touch with family members on the outside. This has had knock-on benefits, including the vast reduction of infractions at the institutions where the system has been installed.
Still, some inmates and their family members have complained about the price that they need to pay to stay in touch with their loved ones over this system. To many, the system appears to be little more than a beefed-up version of Skype, with a video interface that can be connected to via the internet from anywhere the family member happens to be located. Many of the inmates are also able to use hand-held devices, similar in appearance to an iPad, in order to call their family members whenever they wish.
However, this does not mean that the system is anything remotely similar to a standard freeware application. In fact, Securus has built in some of the most high tech algorithms and security applications that have ever been devised. For example, the system is able to automatically screen all calls taking place within a given prison. The system can flag any party that is deemed to be a security threat. It can also parse conversations in real-time, detecting any language that may indicate that a criminal conspiracy is taking place or that efforts to undermine institutional safety or introduce contraband into the jail are taking place.