New Measures Implemented to Connect Families with Incarcerated Individuals

For immediate release:

Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer and the Department of Corrections Act to Provide Communication Options to Families

LOS ANGELES, California – (April1, 2020) – Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-South Los Angeles) announced new measures to be implemented by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) that will connect incarcerated individuals and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As the Chair of the Assembly’s Public Safety Committee my focus has been on the health and safety of those incarcerated and the corrections staff charged with overseeing the daily operations of our state prison system. Initial measures by the CDCR suspended visitations by family members with incarcerated individuals. I am pleased to announce the CDCR has worked with phone and email providers to enable access to calls and emails between families and those incarcerated,” said Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer.

Removing visitations was implemented in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 – limiting access stopped carriers of the virus from entering and exiting prison institutions.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has arranged through Global Tel Link (GTL) free calls three days a week through the end of April with no limits on the number of calls for incarcerated individuals. A separate arrangement has been made between the CDCR and JPay, an electronic messaging service provider offering reduced prices for those able to pay and free services for those who cannot afford the reduced price. 

Families can begin to communicate with relatives who are incarcerated beginning Tuesday, March 31 using the following schedule:

  • Week 1- March 31, April 1, April 2
  • Week 2- April 7, 8, 9
  • Week 3- April 14, 15, 16
  • Week 4- April 21, 22, 23
  • Week 5- April 28, 29, 30

“It is difficult for families to remain updated about the health and well-being of ;oved ones while apart. The ability to connect with loved ones is incredibly important at this time for all of us, “added Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer. “Last week I participated in a web chat and heard from incarcerated individuals about the mental toll that isolation can take. Mental health and wellness are parts of the COVID-19 response that must not be taken lightly and I am proud of the work CDCR has done to ensure those incarcerated are able to connect with their families and loved ones during this time.”

This all follows work to ensure juveniles in the Division of Juvenile Justice have access to free phone calls and free video calls through Skype.


About Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer

Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr. was first elected in 2012 to represent the constituents of California’s 59th Assembly District (So. LA area) in the State Legislature. Chair of the Public Safety Committee and the Select Committee on Ending the School to Prison Pipeline, Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer is a fierce proponent of second-chances and fairness within the law.

A champion of minority, social justice and civil rights causes, the Assemblyman Jones-Sawyer has authored and had legislation signed into law related to ending discrimination in housing, providing mental health grants and supportive services to schools and expanding opportunities and growth to small and start-up business.

Richard Garcia
(213) 744-2111 or (323) 201-1261