Many inmates and their families have been quick to complain about the high costs of making outgoing calls from prisons. Since the inmates themselves often have no source of income, it is up to the families to deposit the money in the inmates’ commissary accounts, which allows them to place calls back home. In some cases, these charges can add up to hundreds of dollars per month.
Often times the inmates and their loved ones blame the communications companies that provide the phone service. But very frequently, it’s the prison or jail itself that is causing the high rates.
Throughout the country, many prisons and jails take a commission on every dollar spent by inmates on outgoing phone calls. Many people label these as legal kickbacks. Regardless of the terms used, there’s no doubt that they are a prime contributor to the high cost of prison phone calls.
Keeping costs low despite kickbacks
Many inmate communications companies, such as Securus Technologies, do an outstanding job of keeping costs low despite the sometimes enormous kickbacks they’re required to pay just for the privilege of being that institution’s telephone provider.
For example, Securus pays 71 cents of every dollar in revenue it generates at state prisons back to the state’s Department of Corrections. Even with such a high commission, Securus has managed to contain the average cost of a phone call in Louisiana’s state prisons to just $.15 per minute. It’s these companies that make the system work for everyone who are the unsung heroes of the prison telephone system.
They don’t even leave prisoners alone these days, apparently! In a recent online news article by Tech.Mic, it appears that the FCC can just not keep to themselves or ‘just play nice’….and particularly when it comes to capping rates on the prison industries as a whole. Especially attacked are the phone communication industries within the prisons of America.
“You may have heard of the prison industrial complex, but there is also an entire industry that just manages prison phones — the Verizons and AT&Ts of American prisons. Last week, those companies gained major ground in the fight to keep them in check.” (Smith IV, pg. 1)
This fascinating new article by Jack Smith IV is available by clicking the link below.
When you some time on your hands, I highly encourage visiting this site and reading the entire article for yourself. You will be astounded and amazed at JUST WHAT EXACTLY goes on IN DEEP DETAILS, as it relates to the daily communication industry for inmates today.
Let’s just say this: the procedures and recent caps mentioned in this particular article sure have a way of making people NOT WANT TO COMMIT CRIMES AND GO TO JAIL. That is the good side of the situation.
According to the article, it appears that the prison telecoms industry itself has been pressuring the FCC and playing its own hand of cards in every legal way possible. It seems that the FCC has in turn folded to the immense and repeated pressure, proposing a “new set of caps on what those telecoms can charge vulnerable families to keep in touch with incarcerated loved ones over the phone.” (Smith IV, pg .1)
It appears that nobody ‘plays fair’ these days…not the prison industry, not the FCC itself, and not the convicted. The world’s changed.
One neglected topic resultant from America’s world-leading prison population is the externalities associated with household members being removed from society. There are many ways in which, for example, children of incarcerated fathers are adversely affected. One example is the statistical realities that children raised in single-mother households tend to have a lifelong statistical handicap, faring worse than their traditionally raised peers in almost every measure. Another is the fact that the father can no longer meaningfully provide for the family in any way.
But there are other, more subtle ways in which families, particularly children, can end up bearing the costs of a relative’s incarceration. One such example is the cost of inmate phone calls. Prison is widely thought to have as a primary goal the punishment of inmates. This includes the removal of anything that could be characterized as a luxury or an optional convenience. Many people, including many administrators, view phone calls as a luxury or an unnecessary amenity. However, the families of incarcerated fathers often view phone calls as a critical lifeline in their children’s development. And their views are backed up by rigorous evidence.
In some jurisdictions, such as the state of Arizona, prison phone costs are so high that few inmates can afford to stay in regular contact with their loved ones. But some families still foot the bills. Unfortunately, those families are often the ones who can least afford it. Decisions between nutritious eating and contacting the children’s father become routine. No matter what crime the prisoner may have committed, his children don’t deserve to be punished for his mistakes.
I’m sure that many of you reading this are familiar with the film website, Rotten Tomatoes, which talks about movies and says whether they are fresh or rotten. By looking at this link right here, http://icsolutions.pissedconsumer.com/ic-solutions-shady-fraudulent-company-20141224574304.html, it is clear that even though IC Solutions is an inmate solutions company and not a movie, they are rotten. According to ripoffreport.com, they have a 1.5 rating out of 5 based on 60 reviews from the people. These are not people with just an axe to grind or people looking to get something for nothing. These are real people that wish to speak to their loved one that is beyond bars.
There is no sympathy and there is no compassion when it comes to IC Solutions. That simply does not exist with them and it is not part of their moral fiber. They do not care if someone messed up and landed themselves in prison. Maybe they had to feed their family and they were pushed to the brink and had to steal some groceries. This does not justify what they have done and they still have to service their prison stay, but they deserve a second chance. After all, life is all about second chances and redemption.
By having these very important jail phone services for the inmates to speak to people that care about them, they are getting this second chance they probably never thought they would have in the first place. It gives them hope and faith, which they need. Yes, they have screwed up, but they should not be damned for the rest of their lives. If it were up to IC Solutions, they would damn them for life and think nothing of it. It would not bother them, whatsoever, because it just means more money for them in the long run at their expense.
Global Tel Link is one of the leading providers of telephone communications systems that prisons across the country use to allow inmates to make calls. However, it’s a company that takes money from those who don’t have it to spare. It charges outrageous rates for those who rely on the system to be able to talk to the people they love that is in prison.
There are children who need to talk to a parent who is in prison. According to Consumer Affairs, since the company charges fees when setting up an account, fees that are very high when a call is made and fees that are taken out if a call is dropped, it’s hard for families to stay in touch with loved ones. GTL makes over $500 million each year from the calls that are made. The only way that many people get to talk to their loved ones is by a phone call. They can’t go visit because it’s often too far away. In an investigation by ACLU, Global Tel enters into a contract with the prison with the prison getting a kickback from the company when calls are placed. Most people can talk to others across the globe for much less than what inmates and families pay through Global Tel.
The cost of making a phone call from any one of the nation’s prisons has, on average, been dropping precipitously over the last decade. For example, in the state of Louisiana, companies like Securus Technologies have managed to keep rates incredibly low, despite being forced to sometimes pay as much as 87 cents of every dollar they make in revenues back to the jails and prisons where they operate.
In Orleans Parish, Securus has the contract for the parish jail’s telephone service. Despite being obligated under its contract to pay 86 percent of every dollar earned, Securus has managed to keep the cost of a 15 minute phone call down to less than $3 for the inmates housed there. In fact, throughout the state, Securus has been able to keep the average per-minute costs to inmates on its phones to less than 15 cents. This is remarkable considering that it pays, on average, 71 percent of all revenues to state and local administrators.
The low costs create tremendous value for inmates. Prisoners who, a decade ago, would have likely spent their time incarcerated without ever talking to family and friends are now able to stay in near uninterrupted contact with their loved ones. Such regular contact with family has been shown to lower recidivism and reduce security problems within jails and prisons. It creates an enormous incentive for prisoners to remain on their best behavior, because the privilege of being able to talk to loved ones whenever they want is so valuable.