Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

NEWS RELEASE

 

 

January 25, 2010

MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

 

MEDIA ADVISORY

CONTACT:  DRC Bureau of Communications

(614) 752-1150

DRC Pilots Email Correspondence System for Inmates

Columbus) The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) is implementing an email communications system in an effort to keep inmates connected with family members and loved ones in the community.

The pilot begins on February 23rd at Madison Correctional Institution during which time members of the inmate’s support system in the community can purchase packages to correspond via email.  Department wide use of the new email system is expected to be available in March.  Director Terry J. Collins described the new system as “a safe and secure way for inmates to keep in touch with friends and family.”  Director Collins also added, “DRC understands the importance of offenders staying in contact with friends and family and we believe this system will enhance those important relationships.”

JPay Inc. is the company under contract with DRC to provide this service, which is being launched at no cost to DRC or taxpayers.  JPay Inc. has similar services in other states such as Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania.  Interested parties will purchase a package ranging from $1.00 to $12.00, varying by the number of pre-purchased messages.  The messages will be printed at the institution and routed to the identified inmate.  The inmate will handwrite a response which will be scanned to the sender’s email account which is registered with JPay Inc.

 The long term vision for this new service is for JPay Inc. to install kiosks at the institutions.  At the kiosks, inmates will be able to reply to sent messages which will ultimately replace the handwritten responses.  It is important to note that at no time will any inmate have web access outside of the approved correspondence.  Communication supported by this new system will be monitored for prohibited material in accordance with Department policy.

The many anticipated benefits of this new technology include: increased efficiency in handling mail, decreased opportunity for contraband entering institutions, and increased access for communication between inmates and supportive friends and family at a cost less than that of standard postage.  Approximately 14.7 million units of mail are handled by DRC employees each year.  It is expected that the launch of this new technology will decrease the amount of mail both in and out of institutions.