Jail and prison officials in at least three states are using software to scan inmate calls for mentions of the coronavirus, a move advocacy groups believe paves the way for abuse while raising stark questions about carceral health care.
The monitoring software was created by LEO Technologies, a Los Angeles company backed primarily by Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy. Known as Verus, it was first deployed several years ago to forestall suicide attempts, mine calls for investigative tips, and for a range of other purposes. In recent weeks, it has been marketed as a system “that can mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic across our nation’s jail and prison facilities” by alerting prison authorities to sickness-related conversations between inmates and the outside world.
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