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SMH: The rapid & unregulated growth of e-messaging in prison

E-messaging report cover

As work by advocates and family members have forced governments to crack down on price gouging for prison phone calls, the companies behind these services quietly turned their focus toward less regulated industries to continue to sap money from incarcerated people and their loved ones. One new service in particular — text-based electronic messaging or “e-messaging” — has experienced explosive and unregulated growth.

In this report we examined all 50 state prison systems, as well as the Federal Bureau of Prisons to see how common this technology has become, how much it costs, and what, if anything, is being done to protect incarcerated people and their families from exploitation.

Mass incarceration, state by state

Learn about the national prison crisis and how we can begin to turn the tide on mass incarceration. Then, drill down to your state.

If our work is new to you, you might want to check out our 2021-2022 annual report.

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