by Allyson Walker
by KXAN.com and Joe Mahoney/Rocky Mountain PBS I-News
news about a federal lawsuit against the Travis County Sheriff’s Office provides a
fresh reminder of how important it is for correctional facilities to make
absolutely sure their inmates’ privileged phone calls and other
communications are not recorded... or it could cost them.
claims that the Texas facility violated client-attorney privileges by recording constitutionally protected calls between inmates and their defense lawyers which were
supposed to be confidential.
may represent the most recent occurrence, it is by no means the first. Privileged
conversations between inmates and lawyers have been wrongly recorded at multiple
facilities across the country (Davidson
County, TN, Alameda
County, CA, and the
Alaska Department of Corrections, just to name a few.)
Whose responsibility is it?
It can be argued that it isn’t the responsibility of the inmate
phone provider to make sure attorney calls are exempt from recording (i.e., the
onus is rather on the facility or the attorney), but that way of thinking is a
little foreign to us here at Legacy. For the correctional
facilities we service, we consider both the facility and their inmates to be
our valued customers. Why wouldn't we do everything in our
power to ensure that they don’t find themselves on the receiving end of an
expensive lawsuit or have their constitutional rights violated?
The violation of any person's rights is a serious matter, and
that includes inmates behind bars at correctional facilities. Legacy has a
unique level of care and interest in inmates that
simply doesn't exist with other inmate communication providers
(such as the ones that service the facilities mentioned above). It is due
to a key difference in the way we operate—as a true single source
What does outsourcing have to do with it?
The term “single source” is used very loosely in the industry,
so it’s important to explain exactly what we mean by it and why we can say it
but most others can’t. Most inmate phone companies outsource things like
friends and family billing and customer service to outside companies, which
means they aren't as directly accountable to them for providing a
quality customer experience. Legacy, on the other hand, stands apart in
the industry because we handle every last step involved in a facility’s inmate
communications—connecting every call through our own network, providing live
in-house customer care, and handling our own billing. And we’ve been doing it
for nearly two decades.
means we consider inmates and their friends and family our direct customers, so
we have a vested interest in keeping them happy and satisfied. Allowing their
constitutional rights to be violated probably isn’t the best way to go about
single source approach affects everything we do, including the way we service
our correctional facility clients. We can do more than just say our approach to service is personal.
Because we built our system from the ground up and own it completely, our
in-house software engineers can regularly build custom features for each of our
clients. We understand that every facility faces its own unique circumstances
and challenges, and we love putting our creative minds to work to find
innovative solutions for them.
there’s one universal problem that all of our clients seem to face, and that’s a
shortage of financial resources, with more budget cuts always on the horizon.
Add a lawsuit for recording privileged inmate phone calls on top of that, and
it could mean very real financial hardships that impede progress on important
facility projects and programs… not to mention bad publicity. That’s why we
take careful steps to ensure it doesn’t happen.
We’ve got you covered
approach is proactive, which means we don’t wait until something goes wrong to
act. We take intentional measures to prevent such occurrences and to protect
our clients from things that could cause problems down the road.
Whenever we transition a facility to our service from another provider, we make sure that any number previously designated as privileged and non-recordable (such as attorney and clergy number) retain their status when imported into our system.
If any privileged numbers are missing from the list given to us
by the incumbent provider (i.e., they were being recorded when they shouldn’t
have been), we consult with the facility to make sure all official
non-recordable numbers are added to our system. This process may include
referencing attorney numbers registered with the State Bar Association or other
Even if an attorney call somehow gets recorded (because the
attorney failed to get their number registered as privileged with the
facility), no attorney or inmate will ever be able to claim they did not know
their call was recorded. On every call placed through our system, both parties
are notified either that their conversation will be recorded, or that it is a
privileged non-recorded call. All called parties are required to “press 1” to
acknowledge that their call will be recorded before the system will allow the
call to proceed. This protects the facility from liability.
peace of mind do you have that your inmates’ privileged calls are not being
recorded? Do you feel that your current provider values and takes care of your
inmates and their friends and family? Does your vendor seem willing to build
customized features to address your facility’s specific challenges? Let us know
in the comments below, reach out to us on Facebook, or contact our team to learn more
about how Legacy can meet these needs for your facility.
additional research on this topic and to learn more about the ITS providers
associated with repeatedly recording privileged attorney calls, please refer to
the following links:
Post Crime - Texas Sheriff's Office Recorded Inmates' Calls With Attorneys,
News - Recordings Raise Questions about Inmate Rights
KXAN News YouTube Chanel -
Lawsuit accuses Travis County jail of recording calls with attorneys
News- Lawsuit accuses Travis County Jail of recording calls with attorneys
- Judge: Jail calls lawsuit against Travis County
Lawyer - Lawyers Score Win in Recorded Jail Calls Lawsuit
- Travis County Jail recorded attorney-client phone calls, gave them to
- Lawyers want court to stop Texas jail from recording talks with inmates
Legacy Inmate Communications
is a nationwide provider and has been a leader in the inmate communications
industry for nearly two decades, with headquarters in Cypress, California. The
company has developed a number of state-of-the-art inmate communications
platforms, such as iCON, WatchWord+, and iCONTracker. Legacy is unique in that it is a single-source provider,
researching, developing, building integration, and implementing every aspect of
its inmate telephone and video visitation systems. For more information, please