Local

Widespread CenturyLink outage shuts down phone services at Idaho prisons, education dept.

Inmates at the Idaho State Correctional Institution on a retained jurisdiction program use time allowed them to make phone calls, work on paperwork or watch television Oct. 2, 2018. Retained jurisdiction puts inmates through a prison-based treatment program, and allows them to avoid a longer sentence if they successfully complete it.
Inmates at the Idaho State Correctional Institution on a retained jurisdiction program use time allowed them to make phone calls, work on paperwork or watch television Oct. 2, 2018. Retained jurisdiction puts inmates through a prison-based treatment program, and allows them to avoid a longer sentence if they successfully complete it. doswald@idahostatesman.com

The widespread reported CenturyLink outage across the nation has led to the temporary shutdown of phone services at the Idaho Department of Correction and Idaho State Department of Education.

IDOC said in a Facebook announcement Thursday that the department’s offices and correctional facilities are impacted, including the inmate phone system and JPay.

JPay is the system inmates use to exchange money, send emails and videos to people outside of the prison and make payments.

The Idaho State Department of Education released a statement Thursday afternoon saying that it was unable to receive phone calls. In the meantime, SDE has full internet access and can be reached via email. Corresponding contacts can be found at the SDE’s website. The Ford Idaho Center also tweeted that its phone lines are down but that event tickets can still be purchased online.

CenturyLink has not issued a public statement about size of the outage, though it acknowledged the problem online. However, the popular outage-tracking website Down Detector showed CenturyLink outages across the country, with concentrated outages in the Pacific Northwest and Midwest.

Some areas have seen the outage create problems for 911 dispatchers, but on Thursday morning, Ada County had not received any reports of problems. The Ada County Sheriff’s Office, which dispatches for the entire county, had not had any problems receiving 911 calls and responding to emergencies as a result of CenturyLink’s outage, according to spokesman Patrick Orr.

Canyon County spokesman Joe Decker said the dispatch center for Canyon County was not have problems Thursday. Nampa police dispatchers were not experiencing any difficulties either, spokesman Tim Riha said.

The Idaho Central Credit Union’s network was down Thursday as well, according to the credit union’s Facebook page. ICCU public relations director Laura Smith told the Statesman the network problems are a result of the issues with CenturyLink.

“Our call center and some ATMs are currently unavailable,” the credit union’s post said. “ACH files, checks, and wires were also affected; however, our team has begun to work on these processes.”

Smith said the credit union will continue to update the Facebook page as it has new information.

The Boise Public Library has been affected by a loss of internet, according to an Instagram post by the library’s official account. Public computers are offline although staff has limited access, according to the post.

Reporter Ruth Brown covers the criminal justice and correctional systems in Idaho. She focuses on breaking news, public safety and social justice. Prior to coming to the Idaho Statesman, she was a reporter at the Idaho Press-Tribune, the Bakersfield Californian and the Idaho Falls Post Register.
  Comments