JPay and Keefe Commissary Network, which contract with correctional institutions to sell inmates goods and services, have been named in a lawsuit that alleges they confiscated media players and digital files from prisoners who were promised their purchases would be permanent.
Echoing claims of a previous lawsuit filed last February against the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC), the case takes issue with the transition between the defendants’ two media programs at FDOC facilities. The suit explains that under Keefe’s Digital Media Player Program, FDOC inmates were given the opportunity to purchase entertainment products, such as media players for around $100 and songs and audiobooks for $1.70 per file. The FDOC, the complaint says, eventually ended Keefe’s program and entered into a new agreement with JPay, which reportedly offered both the FDOC and JPay higher profit margins through the latter’s Multimedia Tablet Program.
Regardless of whether they chose to participate in the new program, the case continues, FDOC inmates were allegedly required to surrender all previous gadgets and media files or mail their purchases, excluding cloud-based files, to someone outside of prison. The problem with this, as the suit tells it, was that inmates were assured their purchases would be permanent before they participated in the program. In fact, Keefe apparently promoted the business in ads that stated, in part: “[o]nce you purchase the music you always own it!”
The case alleges that inmates were not properly informed that their media players and files would only be available for the duration of the program. All told, the suit claims that Florida inmates who relied on the Keefe’s representations were defrauded out of $11.3 million during the program and were not refunded for any improperly confiscated property when JPay took over.