PRESS RELEASE: Department of Corrections negotiates free calls and reduced digital costs for incarcerated population
Released March 20, 2020
TUMWATER – In response to the escalating threat of COVID-19, the Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) has had to limit visitation and programming across the prison system. Recognizing the importance of contact with friends and family, the Department announced this week it has collaborated with vendors to provide two free five-minute phone calls a week and free and reduced opportunities to use the JPay digital service.
“The COVID-19 crisis is unprecedented in our state and around the world,” said Corrections Secretary Steve Sinclair. “We understand how important communication is to our incarcerated population, their friends and families in these uncertain times and we’re proud to be able to offer additional communication opportunities to them either for free or at a reduced cost. We hope this helps ease their anxiety and provides them with needed support from friends and family.”
Global Tel Link (GTL) partners with correctional facilities through the ConnectNetwork to provide phone service to incarcerated individuals, their friends and their families. Effective March 18, GTL started providing two (2) free phone calls of up to five (5) minutes each, every week to the incarcerated population. This will last until April 14, at which time it will be reviewed for possible additional options.
JPay is a private company that works with state, county and federal correctional facilities across the country to provide services for family and friends of incarcerated individuals and those in work release, including sending money, emails, VideoGrams and more.
Effective today, March 20, JPay will be providing the following discounts for incarcerated individuals, their friends and families:
- Reduced cost for inbound VideoGrams;
- One free video visit credit per JPay account;
- Two free stamps (or credits) each week credited individuals’ JPay accounts.
“While we know this is not the same as seeing friends and family in person, we hope that it helps alleviate some of the concerns regarding visitation being suspended at this time,” Sinclair said. “We’ll be reviewing visitation, programming and other suspended activities as this situation evolves. The health and safety of those in our care, our staff and our communities continue to be our top priority throughout this crisis.”