Jpay is a private company that provides various services to prison inmates and their families. They sell music players (music), email services, and video visitations. Jpay has a computer set up in every dorm. We have recently been dealing with Jpay Hell.
Jpay Issue #1 – 3 months ago Jpay decided to “upgrade” all of the computers in Ky’s facility. They replaced the computer in his dorm with a wall mounted kiosk. This “upgrade” also includes a grainy camera and antiquated phone receiver to replace the headset he was able to use before. Our video visits are worthless… If by some miracle we manage to stay connected, I can’t hear a word he says. When I hear his voice, the image disappears and the entire system freezes. On our last 3 visits, more than 1/2 of our time was spent resetting the page or rebooting the system. Ky was so angry after our last visit that he told me to cancel all upcoming visits and get his money back. So I call Jpay….4 times. The video visits were cancelled, they would not put the refund on Ky’s books and said they would refund the money to me, that was about a month ago, still no refund. So we are down to hand written letters and emails. I haven’t seen him or heard his voice in weeks. Needless to say, my mood is not a pleasant one.
Japy Issue #2 – One of the things that keeps everyone’s spirits up inside is the music players. Music is the air that Ky’s mind breathes…and it keeps him calm. About a year ago, Ky’s player stopped working. He was pretty upset because he’d only had it for a few months, his mother sent him the money for it and they are very pricey items. I sent him the money to purchase a new player from Jpay, however the prison only allows 1 player to be purchased per year, so it literally sat in the prison mail room for 4 months. Ky expected to be given his new player after the year was up, however, the prison sent the player back to Jpay. After 3 more months of emails, and me calling, they finally refunded Ky’s money instead of sending him the new player, telling him that the order was lost and he needed to place a new one. Once again he ordered the player, (which takes 6 weeks to arrive at the prison). 6 weeks later, Ky receives an email from Jpay stating that all JP4 players are being replaced with new JP tablets and that his player was once again returned to Jpay. Ky, and everyone else received their players just after Thanksgiving. The new player can hold pictures, and people can write emails that can be sent when the player is connected to the computer kiosk. The first time Ky connects his player to the kiosk, the system locks it. He cannot access anything. As of this moment, we have sent dozens of messages and made dozens of calls, still JPay refuses to fix or replace the player. It should be stated that Ky is the ONLY person on the compound who’s player doesn’t work. Needless to say, Ky’s mood is not a pleasant one.
Jpay Issue #3 – Jpay also provides money services. Instead of sending money orders to the state which takes a week or more to process, you can send money through Jpay in about 2 days. Of course they charge about $7.00 for processing the funds. In the past, if you had the inmates name and GDC number, you could create a free Jpay account to send your loved one money and emails. Not anymore. Here is my most recent notification from Jpay:
Dear JPay Customer,
This is a reminder that the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) has changed its money transfer policy. Effective today, January 12, 2016, you must be on an inmate’s Approved Senders List in order to send that inmate money.
To ensure that your name is on the Approved Senders List, please contact your loved one. Inmates must submit names for inclusion on their particular Approved Senders List. You cannot add your name to the list, only your loved one can.
You may already be on your loved one’s Approved Senders List. If you regularly call, email or visit your loved one, or have gone through a process with the GDC to become an Approved Contact, you are likely already on the Approved Senders List. You can confirm this with your loved one or your loved one’s facility.
Remember, starting today, deposits will ONLY be accepted from those on an Approved Senders List. Please take any steps necessary to continue sending money to your loved ones in Georgia.
Your JPay Team
To most people, this might not seem like a big deal. In reality, this is yet another way that the State of Georgia cuts people off from their loved ones. The “Approved” list is nearly impossible to get on unless you are next of kin. You have to be on the “Approved” list for visitation, sending clothing or food packages, video visits, phone calls, and now to send funds. Why does the state do this?
- Because they don’t want us having too much access to the people housed in their facilities. …an inmate without loved ones has no one to tell about the real conditions inside.
- They want people to believe that they have been abandoned. It’s another form of emotional torture.
- They don’t want anyone having access to too much money. People aren’t allowed to buy commissary items for other people. This rule is mostly overlooked by the officers, but there are times when it’s been used to shake someone down or search someones body.
What does this mean for Ky? It means that no one who has sent Ky money via Jpay in the past will be able to do so in the future. I am not on the list, but will still be able to send the funds he needs through less direct routes. It makes things more difficult, but not impossible.
Jpay is a private company that makes millions of dollars every year off the families of incarcerated loved ones. They charge ridiculous prices for terrible products and shitty service because they know that we have no alternatives.
As difficult as it is to deal with, I really feel like it will all soon be a distant memory. I hope and pray every night, that he comes home to us soon.