Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

DOC PILOTS MESSAGING PROGRAM FOR OFFENDERS

 


St. Paul – The Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) will begin piloting a secure web-based messaging system for offenders at the Oak Park Heights (OPH) and Shakopee prisons today.

“This is the type of innovation that we are looking for,” said Commissioner Tom Roy. “It enhances staff safety, reduces work load, and allows for inmates to maintain relationships with approved people who will be important in their reentry efforts.”

The 6-month pilot program will allow family and friends to send messages to offenders through a secure website hosted by Advanced Technologies Group. The message is sent from this site and delivered to the offender in paper form. The system is one way, so the offender must still write back using a written letter and the mail system.

“We’ve had instances where some people have coated letters with drugs,” said Mike Green discipline/mail room supervisor at OPH. “They’ve employed many ingenious means to introduce contraband and coded messages into the prison. This system will be much more secure.”

The system is already used in the Federal Bureau of Prisons and several state corrections departments. It has processed over 100 million messages nationally.

Using a web-based system has a number of advantages. It reduces incoming mail which significantly lowers contraband introduced into the facilities and it allows for better surveillance and monitoring of offender correspondence.

Those wishing to send an offender a message, pay $0.30 per message which is less expensive and faster than sending a letter.

To begin using the system, family and friends of offenders should go to http://www.corrlinks.com and establish an account.

Following the 6-month pilot project, the DOC will evaluate the success of the program and determine if it is a good fit for all Minnesota Correctional Facilities.

 

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