Calls from Prison

How does a 20-minute phone call in a prison end up costing $20—which families end up paying for because calls are usually made collect? According to the American Prospect, states sign exclusive prison contracts with phone companies, and 42 states receive a “kickback” commission from each phone call, which is supposedly used to fund prison rehabilitation programs and treat sick prisoners. But it also can cut off communication between prisoners and their loved ones because they’re unable to pay for the expensive calls, which adds to the long list of other problems we having going on in our prison system.

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7 Comments / Post A Comment

Bettytron (#111)

In Ohio, at least at the county level, it costs $9.99, plus a $5 connection fee, for a five minute call that can’t be extended. Verizon adds a charge of a couple dollars on top of that, too. You can set up a debit account that gives you a lower per-minute rate, but they charge a $5 processing fee every time you add money to the account, so you lose a lot if you can’t afford to put a large lump sum on the account at once.

Oh weird, just yesterday I listened to this old This American Life episode about a radio station in Texas that puts people on the air to talk to their family in prison because in Texas, no one can call you in prison and inmates only get one call for only FIVE MINUTES (!) every 90 days and only if they’re on good behaviour. I had no idea. So people call this radio show and say they miss them or even break up with someone in prison! It’s really interesting. You can listen here: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/119/lockup

melis (#42)

OZ

YESSSSSSS

MIKE DANG

melis (#42)

seriously though Keller was always calling his ex wives on that pay phone

melis (#42)

nobody ever wants to talk about oz as much as i do :(

WaityKatie (#1,696)

@melis I came down here just to say “I didn’t really read the article but thanks for the picture!”

Kate (#1,408)

Ugh, I just went through this because my sister spent ten days in jail and I was watching her two year-old daughter and newborn son while she was…away. I spent so much fucking money on those calls PLUS because I live in Canada and was taking care of her kids in New York, INTERNATIONAL ROAMING CHARGES for all the airtime. Anyway. Yes. It is a problem. Which, in all fairness, can be solved by not going to jail.

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