Inmate telephone system

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Inmate Telephone Systems have been designed to provide a monitored method for inmate and detainees to safely maintain contact with their family and friends, while at the same time providing tools to the jail management staff that permit recording, monitoring and alerts of inmate telephone activities.[1] Providers include NCIC Inmate Phone Services, Telewest Inmate Phones.

This Phone Is Tapped.jpg

Ideally, telephone service for inmates allows for the rehabilitation of inmates by allowing consistent communication with family and legal counsel.[2] This consistent communication prevents the detachment of the inmate from their family during a medium-term to long-term incarceration.

Jail phone service providers traditionally charge higher rates for the phone services than traditional home phone service; in some cases, long-distance calls are charged six times the rate on the outside. In some instances, a fifteen minute call could cost upwards of $15.[3] Recently, the FCC approved the proposal to reduce the high long-distance charges that inmates incurred to eleven cents per minute,[4] so that a fifteen minute call should not cost more than $4.

Some companies, like Affordable Inmate Calling Services and Pigeonly, eliminate that long distance expense by routing numbers local to the prison to customers' current numbers. In addition to lower service charges, some of these companies provide ways to locate a prisoner in the system. These services can be accessed through phone applications or computer websites. There are websites, like PrisonCallDeals, which provide comparison of different providers and enable choosing the most affordable option. This facilitates more communication between inmates and their family and legal counsel, which is important in order to reduce recidivism rates.

Private Prison Phone Company Rates per Month. Data from: Prison Call Deals

[5] In 2007, HR 555 "The Family Telephone Connection Protection Act of 2007" [6] was introduced to begin the discussion of rate regulation for inmate telephone calls.

Prison systems generally limit the calls to fifteen minutes maximum, and inmates have to wait thirty minutes before being allowed to make another call, but this is dependent on the prisons house rules and does not cover all prisons.[7] In many prisons, phone credits are accessed via an inmate account card.[8] Inmates have to register to be able to use the service,[9] and need to provide a list with names and numbers of people they will be allowed to call.[10]


  1. ^ Bell, William R. (2002). Practical criminal investigations in correctional facilities. CRC Press. p. 196. ISBN 978-0-8493-1194-9. 
  2. ^ Fred Mosely; Charles Sullivan: Using Inmate Calling Services for Rehabilitation, Offender Programs Report: Social and Behavioral Rehabilitation in Prisons, Jails and the Community Volume:5 Issue:5 Dated:January/February 2002 Pages:65-66, to 74
  3. ^ "FCC Reduces High Long-Distance Calling Rates Paid by Inmates". Federal Communication Commission. Federal Communication Commission. Retrieved 20 November 2015. 
  4. ^ "Rates for Interstate Inmate Calling Services". Federal Communication Commission. Federal Communication Commission. Retrieved 20 November 2015. 
  5. ^ Hanrahan, Clare (2007). Jailed for Justice: A Woman's Guide to Federal Prison Camp. Celtic Wordcraft. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-9758846-6-9. 
  6. ^ Congressman Bobby L. Rush: "HR 555 The Family Telephone Connection Protection Act of 2007", 110th CONGRESS of the United States of America, 2007
  7. ^ Frantz, Michael (2009). Jail Time: What You Need to Know...Before You Go to Federal Prison!. Dog Ear Publishing. p. 156. ISBN 978-1-59858-935-1. 
  8. ^ Bosworth, Mary (2002). The U.S. federal prison system. SAGE. pp. 177, 178, 222. ISBN 978-0-7619-2304-6. 
  9. ^ Williams, Stephen P. (2006). How to be a Hollywood star: your guide to living the fabulous life. Random House. p. 69. ISBN 978-0-307-33622-4. 
  10. ^ Hanrahan, Clare (2005). Conscience & Consequence: A Prison Memoir. Celtic Wordcraft. p. 34. ISBN 978-0-9758846-1-4. 

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