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Time is Money: Who’s Making a Buck Off Prisoners’ Families?

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The Center for Public Integrity traveled around the U.S. to investigate the growing web of prison bankers, private vendors and corrections agencies … and how they profit off the innocent by shifting costs onto inmates’ families.

CNBC was a partner in this reporting and shot some of the general footage. [Read The Video Transcript](

Here are a few remarkable quotes:
Adryann Glenn, former inmate: I sold cocaine. I started selling cocaine when I was eleven years old. Powder cocaine, never crack.

Vincent Townsend, Pay-Tel Communications president: The reason we’re in this mess now, on my side, my industry has abused the public.

Danielle, inmate’s partner: I was pretty mad, I mean, you made a mistake but now I gotta pay for it.

Jack Donson, former federal prisons officer: You can make a lot of money from prisoners and prisoners’ families, especially in these peripheral services.

Pat Taylor, inmate’s mother: They are dependent on their families’ money – completely dependent on their families’ money. And they’re punishing the families not the inmates.

Mignon Clyburn, FCC Commissioner: There are 2.7 million children with at least one parent in prison. There are 700,000 inmates who are released to society every year. This is an American problem, this is a main street problem.

Jack Donson: There is plenty of money to be made out of that unfortunately.

Ryan Shapiro, JPay CEO: I know who’s making money down to the penny and I can tell you that nobody’s making a killing on those margins.

Jewel Miller, inmate’s mother: You know it is kinda sad that they would pick on his mother who is 80 years old and trying to make do on 12 hundred and something dollars a month.

Dan Wagner, Reporter: It’s just not one company, and it’s not just one prison. This is an entire system that is shifting the burden on poor families.

Keith Miller, inmate: The fact that she has to pay the fees to send the money and then the fact that they make a certain cut off it seems to be that they’re double dipping.


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“Time is Money: Who’s Making a Buck Off Prisoners’ Families?”