For the 30 youths detained at the Kane County Juvenile Justice Center (JJC), it just became much easier to stay in touch with their families on the outside. In August 2023, the Kane County JJC replaced its previous phone system with Ameelio’s voice communication platform, Connect.
Through this new program, each resident is provided 45 minutes of voice calls a day, at no charge to them or their parents or guardians. These calls are made from Ameelio’s ruggedized, corrections-grade tablets, 15 of which were deployed at the JJC and set up in each of its housing units for safe and secure access. Ameelio makes it simple for the residents and their families to schedule and make calls, and easy for the JJC staff to approve, manage and track the calls. To help ensure both staff and residents were provided adequate guidance on how to use the platform, Ameelio’s IT Manager, Anna McGreal, traveled to the Kane County JJC to offer hands-on training over a two-day period.
“The staff and leadership at Kane County Juvenile Detention Center is amongst the most dedicated group of professionals I've seen, especially when it comes to providing the best possible tools and connection to the kids under their care. I couldn't have asked for better partners in pioneering and designing an important new workflow that will be used by many more facilities and residents throughout Illinois and beyond. The most rewarding part for me was actually meeting the staff and kids who will use the system, answering their questions, taking their suggestions, and seeing the new technology help them in their day-to-day tasks and connections.”
- Anna McGreal, IT Manager, Ameelio
In addition to being able to speak with their parents or guardians each day, residents can also use the new platform to access a Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) hotline. This confidential reporting hotline allows residents to anonymously report any incidents of sexual abuse or harassment.
“Ameelio worked with our juvenile detention center to develop a platform for residents to have secure contact with their families, while also complying with PREA’s requirement for a truly anonymous way to report incidents. Ameelio customized the platform to fit our needs and did so expeditiously. Our system is live now, and we are very pleased with the benefits to our residents and their families.”
- Amy Sierra, Assistant Superintendent/PREA Coordinator, Kane County JJC
The Kane County JJC is the first juvenile facility to deploy Ameelio’s communication platform, with additional facilities expected to be announced later this year. With this new partnership, Kane County joins a growing movement across the nation to make communications free for incarcerated individuals and their families. Increasing family contact, both remotely and in-person, remains one of the most effective tools for improving mental health outcomes and reducing recidivism for detainees.
To learn more about Ameelio, visit our website.