In January 2014 Grassroots Leadership learned that the Travis County Jail was denying any in-person visits and was replacing them with video visits that cost the "visitor" a fee for use. The Sheriff’s department contracts this service out to a private company called Securus. Based in Dallas, Securus makes roughly $30 million annually through phone and video conferencing services in jails and prisons across the country.
The Travis County Sheriff’s department has used recordings from the Securus video conferencing service to provide prosecutors with documentation of conversations between lawyers and their clients, a violation of attorney-client privilege that could hinder attorneys’ ability to defend their clients in court. Perhaps more importantly, research demonstrates that in-prison visitation is crucial to maintaining family ties, especially between children and their incarcerated parents.
Join us in calling on the Travis County Sheriff’s department to end eavesdropping at the Travis County Jail and to restore in-person visitation. People accused of a crime deserve the right to private counsel, and families should not carry the weight of an arbitrary tax, simply to line a contractor’s pockets.