Wichita City Councilman profits from mass incarceration

In 1986, now-Wichita City Councilman Pete Meitzner and Pizza Hut co-founder Dan Carney incorporated a telecommunications company under the name Tele-Matic Corporation.

In 1988, Tele-Matic merged with Star Ventures Inc., to form T-Netix, Inc.

In 1992, T-Netix acquired 8 prison inmate phone companies.

In 2004, T-Netix was acquired by H.I.G. Capital. At that time, T-Netix was valued at $300-400 million.

H.I.G. Capital then acquired Evercom, forming Securus Technologies, Inc.

Securus Technologies, Inc. is now the company that provides phone service and video visitation to the Sedgwick County Detention Facility.

The County receives a 71% commission on the gross sales generated by these inmate communications.

We emailed Councilman Meitzner the text of this story yesterday evening and asked him for a response, but have not heard back from him yet. If he does respond, we will update the story with his comments.

This year, the FCC ruled that these companies must lower their rates to no more than $1.64 for a fifteen minute phone call.

In some cases, these companies were charging as much as $17 per call.

Councilman Meitzner is currently the managing partner at Meitzner and Associates, a prison consulting firm, and a senior partner at Capgemini Government Solutions.

Coincidentally, Meitzner was the only member of the Wichita City Council to vote against placing the Wichita Marijuana Reform Initiative on the 2015 ballot.

The reform initiative did pass and, if approved by the Kansas Supreme Court, could significantly reduce the number of marijuana offenders who pass through the Sedgwick County Detention Facility and may open the door for other cities to follow suit.

City Councilman Pete Meitzner
City Councilman Pete Meitzner

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