For years now we’ve noted how a company by the name of Securus has managed to obtain a pretty cozy, government-supported monopoly over prison phone and teleconferencing services. Like any monopoly, this prison monopoly has pretty traditionally resulted in not only sky high rates upwards of $14 per minute for phone calls, but comically poor service as well. It’s something advocates (like outgoing FCC staffer Mignon Clyburn) have been trying to rectify for years, only to have Trump FCC boss Ajit Pai completely deflate those efforts last year.
But Securus’ monopoly — and the government pampering and cronyism that helped create it — has other additional costs as well. Interstate inmate calling service (ICS) companies effectively buy their privileged positions from local governments, who then expect some favors in return. For example, Securus was recently accused of routinely spying on privileged inmate attorney communications, information that was only revealed after Securus was