How Secure Are Attorney-Client Communications in Prison?

Highland Park Gun Case Supreme CourtThe confidentiality of client-lawyer communications is bedrock constitutional right in our criminal justice system. However, recent revelations have shown cracks in the confidentiality of those communications when clients are in jail. Not everyone in jail has even been convicted of a crime; some are just unable to make bail and are awaiting trial.

The Securus Hack

Securus Technologies is the largest provider of telecommunication services to jails and prisons in the United States. A recent hack and data dump revealed that not only is Securus recording calls between clients and their lawyers—despite previous denials by the company—but that those recordings are not stored in a secure manner.

In a two-year period across 37 states, over 70 million calls were compromised. Of those calls, at least 14,000 calls were between lawyers and clients.

Issues With Other Forms of Communication

In this digital age, there are many ways for lawyers and clients to communicate. However, options for communicating with incarcerated clients are limited. Some jail and prison locations are too remote for frequent in-person visits.

Email is available in some federal facilities, but, generally, those communications are not confidential and are monitored by prosecutors. Regular mail is often too slow and inefficient. This leaves phone calls as one of the primary ways for lawyers to communicate with their clients in jails and prisons.

Why it Matters

The reason confidentiality between a lawyer and client is one of the most import and protected rights in our legal system is because it is impossible to do proper job of representing a client without it. If clients do not feel safe in telling their lawyer information, they may withhold important details that would be vital to their own defense. Confidential communications are not always about illegal activity.

Sometimes, a criminal defendant may be embarrassed by the facts of his or her case. But, if the client does not feel like they can trust that the communications will be kept confidential, they will be less willing to tell their lawyer everything. In cases involving organized crime or gangs, even seemingly innocent information could put clients and their family members in danger of bodily harm or death.

Have you been charged with a crime? You need to speak with a tough and experienced Joliet criminal defense lawyer. Do not talk to anyone about your case until you have spoken to a lawyer. You deserve to have someone in your corner, fighting for your rights. Call 815-740-4025 to schedule your free consultation at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba today.