JPay, a tech company that services incarcerated individuals, said Monday that a recent system change that impacted writing capabilities was made in error and had been reversed. By Tuesday, however, not all JPay users were seeing featured fully restored.
“Through the latest JPay update, the system inadvertently removed the option for incarcerated individuals to save drafts and edit copy in the body of the email. This was in no way intentional and we have reinstated those actions where it was previously available. We apologize for the inconvenience and disruption to our customers,” a representative for the company told TheWrap Monday night.
On Sunday and Monday, incarcerated people and advocates noted the change to the JPay system and accused the Securus Technologies subsidiary of intentionally hampering incarcerated writers’ ability to work and document their lives.
John J. Lennon, a contributing editor at Esquire, tweeted, “DOCCS and @JPay just reprogrammed it’s whole email system to remove cutting and pasting. No more drafts, our version of Word is gone. Amazing for a writer like me. They are looking to contain the content … I’m trying to keep my cool. I can only imagine how many other incarcerated writers are impacted by this. The many people who are just trying to write to their families who are now impacted by this. Ridiculous.”
Christopher Blackwell, a journalist whose work has appeared in The Washington Post and other outlets, wrote, “I’m an incarcerated journalist. I have no access to computers. The only way I’m able to write is on my prison JPay tablet. Today JPay updated their operating system so that you cannot save drafts to edit or make paragraphs. An intentional change to silence those of us that write.”
Following JPay’s Monday statement to the media, Blackwell told TheWrap in a direct message, “It appears the draft box has been restored (although we do not know if people who lost their data already will have their data restored). We are still unable to make paragraphs. The enter button was replaced with a ‘done’ button. In addition, the text appears in one long line. This all also makes it near impossible to edit. We don’t know if those updates were intentional.”
On Tuesday morning, Blackwell maintained that he noticed no changes “beyond the draft box,” either: “For people whose drafts boxes were deleted with the update, the draft boxes have been restored. However, all of the previous contents were not restored. People lost so much of their creative writing, poetry, letters, etc.”
The enter button was still gone, he said, and he still couldn’t break up lines of text.
Also on Tuesday morning, another incarcerated individual named Freddy Medina told TheWrap that full functionality was not yet restored to his JPay tablet, either.
“Intentional or not, JPay’s move was a critical blow for the progression of thousands of incarcerated individuals like myself who aspire to change our narratives,” he said.
A JPay representative said on Tuesday that while “the most recent release inadvertently failed to recognize custom settings and reverted some facilities back to default settings impacting drafting and ease of editing,” drafting and editing were not impacted on the company’s kiosks and the ability to view drafts on tablets will be restored to each incarcerated person the next time they sync their device.
“Ease of editing settings will be restored shortly,” they added. “Like all technology, our services are not immune to disruption, however we acknowledge the confusion and inconvenience this glitch caused and apologize to our consumers.”
“We are hoping those get reversed so that people can continue to write,” Blackwell said.
Read original story Prison Tech Firm JPay Says It Has Restored Writing Access for Prisoners At TheWrap