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Prison video visitation systems are sometimes the only way family and lawyers can talk to inmates, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the security of those systems recently suffered a major lapse. Researcher Bob Diachenko told TechCrunch that video visitation provider HomeWAV left a database dashboard publicly accessible without a password since April, exposing “thousands” of calls between inmates and their attorneys. Anyone could read call logs and transcripts.

HomeWAV shut down the dashboard shortly after TC reported the issue. Company chief John Best confirmed the incident and said that a third-party vendor inadvertently removed the password restriction that kept the server private. He also promised to notify inmates, their families and lawyers.

It’s a particularly serious violation. While many US prisons record calls, they’re not supposed to monitor calls with lawyers due to attorney-client privilege — this suggests the calls were recorded in spite of that rule. And when

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Jason Jones spent nearly 14 years in prison. After learning to code while still incarcerated, today he uses his experience to teach others how coding can improve social mobility and reduce recidivism.

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Jason Jones, remote instruction manager at The Last Mile.

Image: The Last Mile

As someone who spent the majority of his young adult life in prison, Jason Jones knows firsthand the difficulties of trying to re-enter society after incarceration.

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Jones was swept into gang activity at a young age following a difficult childhood, which culminated in him being sentenced to 13 and a half years in prison in 2005. It wasn’t until 2014, while spending time at California’s San Quentin Prison, that Jones was introduced to computer programming through a friend, who advised the then 30-year-old Jones that turning his efforts to coding might offer a practical means of staying out of trouble.

“I had

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Nebraska State Penitentiary

Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln




Almost everyone knows a family member, a friend or an acquaintance in an assisted living center or care facility who has been impacted by COVID-19 quarantining.

Residents have often been unable to receive visitors or take part in the programming or activities that enrich their lives. For some the mental and physical toll has been dramatic.

It’s easy to sympathize with them, and their struggles have received media attention.

A group affected every bit as much as many senior citizens – though easier to ignore and, perhaps, harder to sympathize with – is prison inmates.

Group living arrangements have been an easy place for COVID to spread – whether it’s senior housing or fraternities and sororities on campus. But perhaps even more dangerous is the spread possible among inmates in the custody of the corrections department.

Though slow at first, COVID

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