Texas county reconsidering deal with video visitation company

Commissioners are confident that they can secure a contract that isn’t exploitative or unduly expensive

By C1 Staff

DALLAS COUNTY, Texas — Negotiations between Dallas County and Securus Technologies have restarted, following a rejected deal that would have forced the county to permanently end all in-person visits.

Dallas County officials were deeply opposed to the idea of making money off of inmates who wanted to speak with their families, according to Dallas News.

Though they had originally planned to speak with other companies, the county later changed their minds and decided to negotiate exclusively with Securus. If a deal is reached, the Dallas-based company will also provide the county with inmate phone services.

Commissioners are confident that they can secure a contract that isn’t exploitative or unduly expensive.

They have told county staff to negotiate a deal that doesn’t restrict face-to-face visits, and they also don’t want to receive commission off the profits that Securus makes from the video chats.

If those parameters aren’t met, the court will reject the contract and start the bidding process over.

There are still some who are completely opposed to a deal with Securus; County Judge Clay Jenkins says that the county would still collect commission off the phone calls and called it “bad public policy and perhaps immoral.”

The vice president of sales for Securus, Joshua Conklin, said Securus works with 100 counties across the state to provide a vital service to families of inmates, while monitoring the calls to protect the community at large.

“It is hard to balance the needs to an inmate how has not been convicted of a crime with the security required to keep a known gang leader from contacting elected officials,” Conklin said.

He also said that opponents have exaggerated the profits generated from such services.

“We are a good company. We are not making money hand over fist.”

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