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(soccer mom)
08-25-04 02:21
No 527187
User Picture 
      Calling collect from jail     

The following article is about something I know all too well about....ridiculously high phone bills.  When the phone is someone's only contact to their loved ones, it can really be a major problem for them to deal with.  The only long-distance carrier that handles the jail/prison system around here has no problem with disconnecting you either.  I have even had them put a block on my phone just because the bill had reached a certain amount before the due date to pay it!frown      

Families pay for prison 'welfare'


Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO - Telephone companies and California counties have made hundreds of millions of dollars off some of the state's poorest people through high and unregulated phone rates for calls from local jails, an Associated Press investigation has found.

A California county jail inmate's local call home costs, on average, more than seven times as much as a call from a public pay phone. It adds up to more than $120 million a year in phone bills for families and friends of county inmates statewide. The inflated rates they pay make service contracts with jails so lucrative that carriers offer counties signing bonuses, nearly $17 million in the case of Los Angeles County.

For many, the cost of contact with loved ones is more than they can afford. And while counties are supposed to spend their share of the money on inmate welfare, the law gives sheriffs wide discretion. Much of the money goes to jail upkeep and salaries for people who run inmate programs -- meaning family and friends are subsidizing their loved ones' incarceration.

''It's a gouging of family members, those who have never committed a crime,'' said Charles Carbone, a lawyer with Prison Focus, a prisoner rights group in San Francisco.

Inmates and their families have few options. Regular contact is possible only through highly restricted visits and phone calls out. No one can call into a jail to chat with a family member. And they must pay what the companies charge because inmates are limited to making collect calls or using special calling cards purchased only at jail commissaries.

Those calls cost far beyond what the average household pays. Unlike consumer telephone rates, calls from jails are unregulated. Neither the California Public Utilities Commission nor the Federal Communications Commission has control over contracts negotiated by counties or over the rates charged for calls from jails.

A 15-minute collect call from a San Francisco jail inmate to his family in the city costs $4.02. That same daytime collect call, using the same phone company from a residential phone, would cost $2.47. A local call from a pay phone is 50 cents.

According to five years of information The AP gathered from each of the 57 California counties with jails through the California Public Records Act, counties received more than $303 million in revenues from collect calls, calling cards and signing bonuses.

Counties get about half the money generated from each call.

Telephone companies defend the high charges, claiming specialized equipment and security features such as call blocking and monitoring are needed in jails. Six companies provide most of the phone service to California's county jails; San Antonio-based SBC Communications is the largest.

SBC spokeswoman Bridget Stachowski refused to further explain the higher rates, saying only that jail telephone systems were ''more complex.''

More than half the counties earned more than $500 per inmate and another 21 counties received between $400 and $499 per inmate. When added to the phone companies' share, the total amount extracted from inmate families and friends is more than $650 million over five years.

''It's obscene. It's a tax on a population that can't afford it,'' said Kay Perry, coordinator of the Equitable Telephone Campaign, which is lobbying to reduce phone rates in state prison systems.

Many sheriffs see the phone money as just another way to help fill a budget gap, San Francisco County Sheriff Michael Hennessey said.

''(Other sheriffs say) why do I care what the rates are? I don't have to pay them,'' he said.

Hennessey said he resisted getting rid of coin-operated phones in his jails until he could no longer find a company willing to maintain them.

''I really feel the collect-call-only system is torturously cruel to families of prisoners,'' Hennessey said.

Inmate welfare funds were established by law in 1949 to use phone and commissary revenue to remedy a lack of programs such as education, drug and alcohol treatment, counseling and chaplain services in jails. Amendments in 1993 and 2000 enabled the funds to be spent at the sheriffs' discretion. Such funds can be used for jail maintenance if the sheriff decides that inmate welfare needs have been satisfied.

Nick Warner, legislative director for the California Sheriffs Association, defended the funds, saying that even mundane expenses like fixing plumbing or a roof contribute to an inmate's well-being.

''It's similar to saying you have a fund for my family... after you fed me and clothed me... you can plug the leaks in the ceiling,'' Warner said. ''A lot of things on a piece of paper may not seem like inmate welfare but are, in a custodial setting.''

Asked how sheriffs justify the high phone costs, Warner had no answer, saying only, ''somebody's got to pay for the phone call.''

Sheriffs are required each year to submit a report of their expenditures to their county boards of supervisors, but it's unclear whether the boards examine them.

The state also lacks oversight. Sheriffs had been required to get spending approval from the state Board of Corrections, which issues standards and guidelines for county jails. But that requirement was dropped in 1998, according to board spokesman Mike Bush. Asked who now oversees the spending, Bush replied: ''No one.''

Internal reviews have been sporadic, at best, and show haphazard record-keeping and, in some cases, a complete lack of documentation. For example:

-- A 2001 audit of fiscal years 1997 through 2000 in Marin County: ''There is a complete lack of record-keeping for the IWF.'' ''Contracts for services could not be located or were outdated.''

-- A 2000 audit of fiscal years 1996 to 1999 in San Joaquin County: ''Accounts were not classified in a logical way.'' ''Failed to provide reports to Board of Supervisors.''

-- A 1999 audit in Fresno County: ''Sheriff should increase internal control over trust funds by obtaining supporting documentation for all transactions.''

Counties claim phone funds are generally used to pay for law books, chaplains, educational and vocational classes, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, magazine and newspaper subscriptions, recreational equipment and program staff salaries, generally the largest portion of county expenses.

Hennessey, a former prisoners' rights lawyer, said he's proud of the inmate welfare fund programs offered in his jails with the help of about $1.1 million in phone money each year. About 900 of the 2,000 San Francisco inmates participate in such things as acupuncture and The Garden Project, where inmates learn about horticulture, and raise and sell produce from an organic farm on jail grounds.

Los Angeles County, the state's largest, spends 51 percent of its inmate welfare fund revenue -- about $15 million a year -- on programs ranging from dog-grooming to bicycle repair, for its 20,000 inmates.

Each year, the county spends the other 49 percent of the nearly $30 million fund on maintenance of jail facilities -- paying for everything from replacing light bulbs to painting water towers to repairing elevators.

Few other sheriffs insist on such percentages.

On the state level, phone commissions go directly into the general fund and are then distributed for inmate welfare through the Department of Corrections budget.

Four years ago, the legislature passed a law requiring state prison telephone contracts to be awarded to the lowest bidder. But then-Gov. Gray Davis promptly vetoed the measure, saying the law would slash state revenue by $30 million.

If the Legislature were to reduce similar commissions to counties, the losses would be even more dramatic.

Although California's sprawling prison system collected $137 million in telephone revenue during the five years examined by the AP, its county jails collected $303 million. In other words, county jail inmates and their families generated more than twice the money state prisoners did -- even though California has twice the number of people in prisons than in county jails.

Nationwide, county jail inmates make an average of 1.65 phone calls a day to friends, family and lawyers, according to figures compiled by independent consultants to the corrections industry.

This didn't surprise experts and family members who say jail populations -- generally people awaiting trial or serving shorter sentences -- are more transient than longer-term prison populations and more likely to make frequent phone calls.

''They know we'll pay it, so they can take advantage of us,'' said Pilar Zuniga, whose best friend is in the San Francisco jail awaiting trial for murder. ''Those are our loved ones in there.''

Zuniga gives $150 a month to her friend so he can buy $2.20-a-minute calling cards at the jail commissary -- a bill the 19-year-old state employee and college student can ill afford.

After hearing the results of The AP's yearlong investigation, Mindy Spatt at The Utility Reform Network said her agency has begun examining the jail phone issue.

''There's no question they're bilking the inmates,'' Spatt said. ''This gives new meaning to bilking captive customers. These people really have no choice.''

But these are very real costs for the family and friends of inmates, who often live at poverty's edge.

Single mother Jessica Brickle, 20, expects her phone to be disconnected soon because of $400 she owes, largely due to phone calls to her apartment in public housing from her child's father, jailed a few miles away. Brickle said her normal $20 monthly bill was five times higher because of the calls from her boyfriend.

She thinks it's unfair, but has no idea how to complain.

''I tried to pay on it, but I stopped,'' Brickle said while waiting in line outside the San Francisco County Jail for a 30-minute visit with her boyfriend.

''It's counterproductive as far as public safety. You're cutting people off from the network they need to do well when they get released,'' she said, referring to studies that show recidivism drops when inmates have frequent family contact.

Fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity.
(Stoni's sexual toy)
08-25-04 06:58
No 527222
User Picture 
      Not trying to be an asshole, but what are they     

Not trying to be an asshole, but what are they complaining about, in other countries they won't let you use the phone at all until after the trial is over and the verdict has been delivered.
Correction: they will let you use the phone, but only when you are being called by a cop or the local version of your IRS tax collector. crazy

BUSH/CHENEY 2004! After all, it ain't my country!
(Minister of Propaganda)
08-25-04 07:14
No 527224
User Picture 
      why they are complaining     

Because this isn't other countries. If they are going to allow phonecalls, the phone company shouldn't be making millions by gouging people.

Milk rots your brain.
(Hive Addict)
08-25-04 09:40
No 527243
User Picture 
      To make matters worse     

Its bad enough to call someone from jail, knowing that they are going to have to cough up $5 to talk to you but to make matters worse, the nature of the call is to ask them to put $20 on your books. Then there are calls questioning where the money is and why it hasn't arrived.

Then having to fight with other inmates over use of the phone. With as much as they charge it surprised me that someone would want to stay on it all the time. Some people would call 5-6 times per day. A jailhouse phone brings nothing but misery. After awhile the calls get so expensive that the only calls one can afford to make are the free ones from the phonebooth on wheels that they wheel around that is tapped directly into the public defenders office. You know life sucks when you look forward to talking to your attorney. frown

Some people end up learning how to write letters rather quickly.  crazy

(Hive Bee)
08-25-04 13:52
No 527268
User Picture 
      Re: Its bad enough to call someone from jail,...     

Its bad enough to call someone from jail, knowing that they are going to have to cough up $5 to talk to you but to make matters worse, the nature of the call is to ask them to put $20 on your books. Then there are calls questioning where the money is and why it hasn't arrived.

I forget exactly how much but when I was in jail in California a 15-20 minute call was like $25-$35. I called my father every one or two weeks and my mother once a month or so and they both quickly had hundred dollar phone bills accumulated. Now I never spent that time asking people to put money on my books or why it hadn't come yet (the whole 8 months I was in there I received a whole $20). I was nearly 3,000 miles away from anyone I knew as I was on vacation when I was arrested. I got no visits, my son was born while I was in jail. I wrote lots and lots of letters but they took 5 to 10 days each way and sometimes people'd get too caught up in their busy outsider lives to write. Those calls were all I had and made me feel so good. Especially when my father would arrange for my baby's momma to be at his place (I couldn't call her, block on jail calls). It seemed that some people would make calls every single day and I guess calls for locals were less than what I was paying for my cross-country calls but it was still like $5-$7 for them (It was like a year ago so I don't remember exactly). I don't think that's so bad, I mean it is jail and the phones have to be monitored, block lists maintained, billing, calling lists reviewed by the jail, ect. but what my family was paying is clearly rediculous.

Phone calls are important where a jailbird is too far away from family for visitation. This price gouging is rediculous. The programs office at the jail I was in received around $4,000 a month from the phone company. I wonder what the phone company made off that jail.

Better loving through chemistry.
08-25-04 20:05
No 527306
User Picture 
      I can only echo most of the comments already...     

I can only echo most of the comments already above...  in that the charges are ridiculously inflated and are just a matter of kicking someone when they are down.    The phone companies know - due to the nature of the situation - that these calls are going to be made and so are indulging in gouging because of it.  It is a very real case of having a "captive audience" - so to speak.
Have been in the situation a few times where I have had to take and the calls, suck up the fees, try to get cash on the books and scrape bail together.  It's bullshit and the fact that the local L.E get a slice of the profit from the calls is just plain perverse.
Land of the free my ass....

"The road of excess leads to the tower of Wisdom" - William Blake
(Stoni's sexual toy)
08-25-04 20:27
No 527311
User Picture 
      So once you get arrested you can pretty much...     

So once you get arrested you can pretty much spend the whole day on the phone calling all your buddies second degree cousins sisters boyfriends and tell them about how and why you were busted, where the big stash is located and that you pray to god that a certain witness or narc will have a tragical accident?
That's pretty convenient.

BUSH/CHENEY 2004! After all, it ain't my country!
(Minister of Propaganda)
08-26-04 01:02
No 527381
User Picture 
      Not quite     

You can not use the phone whenever you want or for as long as you want. Usually once a week for 10 or 15 minutes. Most people on appeal are probably calling their lawyer. People in jail for 30 years are probably calling family they will never see again.

Milk rots your brain.
(Hive Addict)
08-26-04 01:10
No 527382
User Picture 
      They randomly monitor     

"where the big stash is located and that you pray to god that a certain witness or narc will have a tragical accident?
That's pretty convenient."

I wouldn't advise that at all! The turnkeys randomly monitor for evidence of potential witness tampering. If they can track a phone call to evidence of criminal activity they will definately act on it!

Ive known people to talk loosely over the prison phone system, these conversations led to strip searches of visitors and convictions for possession and promoting prison contraband. This charge carries a whole hell of a lot of time. Conversations have also led to gang members beeing subjected to shakedowns and possession charges.

At least the prison staff are generous enough to let them know who gave UP their business. crazy

08-29-04 00:51
No 528029
      Scottydog is on the money..     

Scottydog is on the money..

The phone sytems in u.s. prisons are monitored by pretty sophisticated equipment.firstoff you will be prompted to input your prison # so when need be, they can query up your phone calls.

Then there are triggers that cause on the spot recording of your call, that gets imediately reviewed .i.e escape, drugs, witness, shit like that.

So to wrecklessly run at the mouth on there phones could catch you a new case whilst your still in the slam.Also these bastards even have equipment that picks up on key strokes on the phone for illegal three way calling.

This will either lead to a terminated phone call, or surveilence of said phone call, depending if they have been monitoring your calls.

And by the way you can make as many calls as you want.The burden on your family for these calls can be tremendous Iwas fortunate to have lots of money held back.My calls were 3.00 each after 6:00pm.But i lived only two counties away.Others had to pay as much as 30:00 dollars a call.Sadly enough it will NEVER change!


cpot you out there,Im home brother!!
(Minister of Propaganda)
08-29-04 01:20
No 528035
User Picture 
      Re: And by the way you can make as many calls...     

And by the way you can make as many calls as you want.

That must depend on the prison you're in. I don't know anyone who spent time in jail that could make unlimited phone calls.

There was one guy who got out of jail and started his own phone company specifically for prisoners to contact their family at low rates. The government and Ma Bell worked together to put him out of business.

Milk rots your brain.
08-29-04 01:47
No 528042
      In Ohio, all medium and minimum security joint     

In Ohio, all medium and minimum security joints, inmates are permitted to use the phone as many times as they want..The only exclusion to this is during count times 12:00, 4:00pm, 9:00pm, 11:00pm and an unofficial count at 2:00am.

But at 0200 your only allowed off your rack for a piss,so no phone use is permitted after the 11:00 count.Trust me U, Ive spent allmost three years locked up I know the inner working of these systems.

And of course three years isnt buck rogers time, but it sure z fuck is enough to certify me as informed on incarceration privledges.


cpot you out there,Im home brother!!
(Minister of Propaganda)
08-29-04 04:49
No 528063
User Picture 
      Well I've never met anyone from an Ohio ...     

Well I've never met anyone from an Ohio prison. Do you mean you can just come and go from your cell whenever you want except during count times?

Milk rots your brain.
(Hive Addict)
08-29-04 07:24
No 528082
User Picture 
      In Arizona     

In Arizona when I fell on my first conviction, all of the phones were outside and surrounded by a chain link fence. Prisoners had to stand in line and were allowed 2-15 minute phone calls per week in medium and 2-20 min calls in minimum custody. Some of these lines were easily an hour to hour and a half long. There were hour long lines for everything, ice call, store, meals and phones. Nothing worse then waiting in line for an hour to find out that there was nobody home or someone refused to accept the charges. Phone "slips" had to bee dropped in the phone box 24 hrs in advance before using them.

When I came back for more, on a consecutive sentence to a parole violation, they tore down the fences and let everyone make as many calls as people on the streets were willing to accept, (like Pugs said) outside of lockdown and count times.

The lines werent nearly as long because there was a catch. A convict was only allowed to call people from "an approved visitation list" People were only allowed UP to 10 people on this list. A triplicate form had to bee mailed to the prospective visitor and they in turn had to sign it and have it notarized and then mailed back in to the visitation office. By returning these forms, these people agreed to a background check for wants, warrants etc and had to submit name, DOB and SS #'s shocked Each persons DOC number was entered into a computer mainframe that would cross reference numbers called, to stored data pertaining to that particular inmate. If the numbers didnt jive with what was on file, the call was rejected! crazy

Needless to say, with all of the drama they put people through to call or bee called, not many of these forms were returned. Same went for sending money out! Their way of controlling the money that was already there and a further attempt to track "street to street" drug transactions etc. It also put a damper on the female guard/prostitutes that made a habit of supplementing their income. Theoretically, it became much less of a hassle for the Swims of the yard to just pay them in substances. laugh

When Swim was ready to bee released he was rewarded for good behavior by beeing placed in a low minimum tent city w/o air conditioning and whoever won "honor dorm of the week" got to make calls all night if they wanted.

Max yards only got 2-10 min calls per week and the phones were usually inside of the "pod" and strictly monitored and regulated. Only 1 person allowed out of a cell at a time so the wait was incredible. If cops were busy and they didnt get around to your call, oh well better luck next time. With recreation, showers, store, meals, inmate workers, sometimes there wasnt enough time in the day to see to it that everyone got their call. An automated message, gives a 60 second warning of when the time limit is approaching and the phone would sometimes go dead mid sentence. The intro to the call after typing in the DOC number had a place to record your name, then the phone would dial. As soon as someone picked UP it would say, "You are receiving a call from (CYCO) who is an inmate confined at the Az Dept of Corrections facility in "name of facility", if you would like to accept this call please press 1 now, if not please hang UP at this time".

There were a few people that committed suicide over them damn things. tongue

(soccer mom)
08-29-04 08:08
No 528087
User Picture 
      Pretty much same way here     

The intro to the call after typing in the DOC number had a place to record your name, then the phone would dial. As soon as someone picked UP it would say, "You are receiving a call from (CYCO) who is an inmate confined at the Az Dept of Corrections facility in "name of facility", if you would like to accept this call please press 1 now, if not please hang UP at this time".

"To never recieve a call from this inmate again press 2 now."

I often wondered how many have pressed that by mistake and what all they had to go through to get it changed?

Also, I put call-forwarding on my phone so I would NOT miss his calls.  I don't recall ever having any problems with it.

Fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity.
09-02-04 17:06
No 529166
      From my experiance theere were no cells were I     

From my experiance theere were no cells were I was located.We were housed in dormitory style setting.Which can become more violent then cells by the way.You should see someone snnek up on someone at nite and deliver them head trauma from a master lock strapped to a belt.

Also Ive seen people sharpen a tuna lid to a knife and lacerate the fuck outta poor souls who owe money to the wrong people.And this was in a minimum security level 1a

I cant even begin to imagine what a close, or max joint would be like.Some old tim,ers would tell me some storied out on the yard about people sneaking bed rails to the machine shop and have long shanks or swords made out of them.

Buthe had been down for like 20 years and had seen some real brutal shit.well to answer your question we could call as many times as we wanted, or could get threw the fucking phone line without beating someones ass for doo whopping on the phoone.calls lasted 15 minutes


I fucken hate green eggz and yhams!
09-16-04 01:49
      This is ridiculous...
(Rated as: insignificant)
(Hive Addict)
09-16-04 03:26
No 531560
User Picture 
      Fuck You Tranceport!     


For you to have made such a comment:
You're no better than the douchebags making the frivolous laws or the leech MF'ers profiting from this War On Drugs!
You really should be ashamed as much as you've been given freely around here!mad

You Laugh at me because I'm different
I laugh at you because you look the same
(Minister of Propaganda)
09-16-04 05:26
No 531570
User Picture 
      Listen fucktard     

The family of prisoners did not break any laws. They should not be punished because someone else did. And since when does conversing with a prisoner make you an idiot? What are all the smart people doing then, completely ignoring their friend/family member in jail and pretending he's dead? Yeah that sounds brilliant.

Milk rots your brain.
(Of Counsel)
09-16-04 16:24
No 531630
      Mystery solved.     

I see the personna non grata status is quasi-official at this point, and the reason for it. Hmmm. I don't know. Are you officially in charge of bestowing such status, Unob, or is it merely inferred at this point?

mostly harmless
(exotic beauty)
09-18-04 05:05
No 531936
User Picture 


congratulations. you've managed to incite both wareami and geezmeister. hope pure meth isn't your drug of choice.

Janie's Got a Gun
09-18-04 23:14
      I wasnt trying to incite anyone...
(Rated as: I would hate to disappoint you.)
(Hive Addict)
09-19-04 00:33
No 532063
User Picture 
      Listen tranceport     

You've been around for quite a while. I remember when you first signed on here and I never had any beef with you.
You seem level headed on most things you share.
You caught me off guard when you shared you're thoughts on this matter and I reacted out of character.
I actually felt bad afterward that you would choose to take that stand here without thinking or consideration for those that may be suffering.
Yes family's suffer at others expense. Why is that?
Because they deserve to be punished for what someone else did?
You go over the top when you accuse the inmate of being a finacial burden while they are incarcerated.
Have you ever loved someone?
Have you ever been down doing time?
I've spent more time in countyjails waiting to go to trial, fighting convictions than I ever spent serving time for a conviction! All that time I had accumulated huge debt. I made sure my family never suffered from exhuberant collectcall charges. Never had a $1000 dollar phone bill!
I exercized discretion and practicality!
Do you think it's fair that all the time spent waiting to go to trial to be found not guilty was worthy of those same exuberant bills that are forced on convicted felons/inmates?
I say it's greed motivated! Somebody profitting from someone elses misfortune!

What do you say?
I say that's what this thread is about! Downright thievery!
Not who did what wrong and who deserves what as you'd like to turn it around as.
During that time when the family is left to fend for themselves, expect the only one who's capable of offering any consolation and encouragement to cut all ties because of a freaking phonebill expense?
Reread what this thread is about.
Understand why it was posted.
Yes It is preposterous that the laws are such that an additional burden is placed by greedy scumbags on the family's.
This threads intend was to point out the injustice in that!
You come along and agree they are right and we are wrong if we get caught!
You missed the point and pissed me off that you would side with the oppositions acceptance that wrong-doers suffer and who gives a shit if the family suffers to boot at the hand of overzealous lawmakers trying to meet the costs of running a penal institution!
Please sit down and thing about what you are saying before you post shit in defense of your heartless comments!
Nobody is more pissed than Jade at her SO for putting this on her shoulders! But she shouldn't be expected to absorb exuberant costs, get three jobs just to feed the kids because some fat fuck corporation wants to feed it's face with her hard earned money!
I'd love to see a lawmaker...better yet...BUSH, POWELL, or RUMSFELD innocently accusely of a felony and placed behind bars and be forced to endure the SYSTEM for 30days, lose their job, their house, and their family all to be set free when the truth comes out. You see laws changed instantly if that were the case.
Why doesn't that happen....they operate with impunity and aren't held to the same standards the rest of the public is held to. Political clout absovles them from it!
Regroup dude!
Put yourself in some elses shoes before you put your own in your mouth again.
The reason I felt bad at ititial reaction is because I showed as much tolerance as you had by posting what you posted.
We all make mistakes!
I don't feel like that gives free licence to anyone to kick someone while their down.
Financially or otherwise.
The Corrections depts can put a stop to that robbery of folks that don't have a pot to piss in cause of the loss of their sole means of support, someone that excersized bad judgement and got caught!
There are many holes in your line of thinking on this subject!
All show the same lack of compassion as the lawmakers getting fatter off this injustice system!
Tighten UP!
If I didn't think you were capable of adjusting your own attitude...I wouldn't waste my time!
Like I've taken and given to this site!
We all take risks everyday. Just because you get caught doesn't sentence you to a life sentence of giving up everything you've ever loved or those that love you!
I'd hate to see this is you're final stand and assessment of this situation!
You have no argument to back up you're line of reasoning in my eyes on this subject!
And if nothing else...have a heart for those suffering undeservedly.

You Laugh at me because I'm different
I laugh at you because you look the same
(Hive Bee)
09-19-04 01:30
No 532072
      Point taken...     

Ive reread what I said, more importantly though, what the thread was about. Im a bit bitter on the subject because of a previous inmate who stiffed my sister on almost $1200 of collect calls.

The most I can do is offer Jade an apology for the cold comment. Ive never registered a new user name no matter who disagrees with me, and I wont now. And I still feel I made a valid point, but I am very sorry for being so terribly rude.

But please accept my apology Jade, I didnt read your post thoroughly enough, and I spoke a bit quickly. Likewise to anyone else who was offended.
(Hive Addict)
09-19-04 02:29
No 532075
User Picture 
      Like I said...     

I took more time that I had wanted to take on this subject and wouldn't have if it were some newbee!
And I wouldn't worry so much about pissing me or geez or jade off as much as I worry about pissing the moderators off!
They work tirelessly and relentlessly at stemming the flow of misinformation and giving attitude adjustments as they see fit!
I commend them for the thankless job they do here in providing us the FREE place to express our views.
You've contributed to this site like most that have been around for awhile.
But never forget where you came from or lose sight of the fight we're fighting and what we're fighting against.
We all have differing views and I don't hold anything against you.
I respect you're ability and willingness to admit when you're wrong!
I would have done the same!
And I'd have thought less of you if you felt the need to hide behind a username in disgrace in order to stay here!
This is how we resolve differences and I apologize for stooping to namecalling!
Don't blame you're friend or your sisters friend OR YOUR SISTER for the system and the sorryass state of affairs we're faced to endure.
We live and learn!

You Laugh at me because I'm different
I laugh at you because you look the same
(soccer mom)
09-19-04 03:40
No 532087
User Picture 
      an example....     

Tranceport, I will accept your apology, but I'd like to address a few things with you first.

>SWIMs as much as a criminal as anyone else.

Yes, and that was where you come off looking like a  fuckin' hypocrite.  I've come to expect statements such as the ones you made from all the self-rightous assholes I have encountered along the way.  Hell, I've dealt with this kind of behavior for so long now that it doesn't surprise me anymore.  However, having a member of this board, someone that is guilty of just as much, if not more, to say such things was extremely mind-boggling!

>Screwing your family over with these phone bills, at the very best, making the do without any money. At worst, no phone turned on at the house. And how is that not stupid? How about being a mature adult? Having your kids go without so you can sit on the phone is plain irresponsible.

You wanna know something from someone that actually knows what the fuck she's talking about?  If so, then listen up and I'll tell you.  When a child's daddy is in prison and the telephone is the only way of hearing his voice, a mature adult will do whatever she has to do to make that happen.  In my opinion, my kids needed this more than material items that might be considered more important to ones not as "stupid" as me.  The sad part (the initial point of this thread) is that I, and many others, should not have to make this kind of decision because of the jacked up phone rates.

> So, lets do something supid, and get thrown in jail for a while. Now, lets make matters worse, and drain our families money on top of that, just to leave our kids without any phone in the house. And the logic in this is?

>So, whats so hard about being isolated from the real world? Be a man, do whats best for your family. 

I refuse to give up too much personal information on my loved one's situation.  However, I will tell you that he did NOTHING anymore stupid than you, me or anyone else here.  He just happens to be one of the ones that has been chosen to serve as an example to all of us other "law-breaking" citizens.  An example of what happens when you do NOT cooperate with LE and narc out the others.  An example of a being a real man and paying the consequences of his own actions.  I agree, this is not something logical for the majority of people, but it sure as hell is an example of why I love him and will always be here for him.

Regardless of what you and others might think, being in prison is hard especially when the "real world you are isolated from" happens to be your family.  I'm sure life in the army can be rough but please don't compare it to prison.  Besides, when it comes to phone calls, I'll almost bet the fuckin' military gets reduced rates.mad

There's a terrorist behind every Bush.
(Minister of Propaganda)
09-19-04 04:07
No 532090
User Picture 
      Re: Screwing your family over with these phone     

Screwing your family over with these phone bills, at the very best, making the do without any money.

Did it ever occur to your dumb ass that the family might want to talk to their relative on the phone?

It is impossible to force someone to accept a collect call. People accept the call because they want to. Most do not have any idea what the charges are going to be until they get the first bill. most convicts do not have any idea how much their phone call will cost either. If someone had never accepted phonecalls from a prisoner before, how would they know it is not a regular collect call?

know what its like to go 4-6 weeks in the field, come back in, breifly vist with loved ones, and go right back out

Oh poor fucking baby. There are people in jail for 10 - 30 YEARS. You think your pathetic 6 weeks even compares? YOu at least got to visit them, not only spend 15 minutes with them on the other side of a plexiglass wall with a gaurd watching over your visit.

Get a fucking clue or get off the Hive.

Milk rots your brain.
(Hive Addict)
09-19-04 04:43
No 532095
User Picture 
      More Insight...     

This should add a little more insight into this problem and sheds more light on what's behind these outlandish charges.

Jail Profits, Prisoners and Their Families Pay
Peter Santacroce understands his friend, whom we’ll call Michael, may need to call and talk every now and then, and he’s more than willing to lend a sympathetic ear, to listen, to be supportive. But that is becoming an increasingly difficult and expensive proposition.

Michael is currently serving time in a county jail on probation violation charges. And like thousands of inmates throughout New York State, he can only telephone friends and relatives from jail by making collect calls on lines provided to the jail by telecommunication giants like Verizon and AT&T -- which many say have negotiated sweetheart deals with the counties and the state to provide outgoing phone services to inmates.

“I try to be a support system to the kid, anything to help the guy cope with what he’s going through,” Santacroce said, adding that he didn’t mind accepting collect charges. “I’ll take the charges. What’s a couple of bucks?”
But Santacroce, as well as Michael’s parents, soon began to see that charges on their phone bills were more than mere chump change, and that “a couple of bucks” translated to exorbitant charges. Last month, Michael’s mother received a bill charging $22.40 for a 10-minute call, and $19.47 for a seven-minute call.

Although officials say AT&T handles long distance calls from the jails, the bill shows that the calls had been re-routed to a company in Las Vegas.

Mike’s father said that calls home from the jail have routinely started at around $4.50 for the first minute. A former state budget analyst, he suspects the jails are profiting from the arrangement.

“This is the most egregious thing that I’ve seen so far,” he said. “There’s no possibility that anybody in their right mind would sign with a phone company out of state that’s going to charge [that much] unless they have some situation where money is coming back to the correctional system.”

According to Colonel Richard Emery, of the Saratoga County Jail, every New York State and county jail is equipped with phones that require inmates to make collect calls to persons “outside,” and which are also equipped with “anti-fraud” devices preventing inmates from making third-person calls -- made in the past to threaten witnesses and continue criminal activity. And in return, the jails are compensated.

Cash Cow?
“Every single county gets a cut,” Emery said, adding that “next to airports, correctional facilities are one of the biggest generators of revenue for the phone companies.”

While the specifics of the deals vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction; in return for giving service providers exclusive contracts to handle outgoing collect calls from correctional facilities, authorities receive lucrative commissions of the revenue garnered by the calls, which can range anywhere between 24 to 45% in New York State. While contracts routinely go to bidders who can offer the largest returns, as well as support services and technologies such as monitoring apparatuses and computer printouts, the phone companies can pass the costs onto those with little choice in the matter.

“I guess we have a captive audience,” said John F. Randolph, Director of Governmental Telecommunications for Suffolk County. “But it’s a difficult situation: nobody wants to the prisoners’ families to pay [higher costs].”

According to Randolph, rates for prisoners are higher than those for non-incarcerated phone service consumers, but he couldn’t provide actual figures. He did note, however, that the current commission for the Suffolk County correctional facilities is approximately 24%, the gross of which goes back into the county general fund.

According to Gerald Norlander, deputy director of the consumer watchdog group Public Utility Law Project, the commissions are profiting at the expense of those who are often unable to pay such rates.

“Why are we putting this extra charge on the people who get calls from inmates, who are typically friends and family?” he asked, hinting at the economic dynamics of the nation’s criminal class. “It’s not in the interest of society to squeeze $20 million out of the relatives of 70 thousand prison inmates, or is it?”

Norlander said phone companies routinely advertise to authorities, specifically highlighting services and technologies available. However, he conceded that monies may go toward a wide array of jail services and maintenance.

“It’s the commissions that are the heart of the problem,” he said. “It’s a practice that grew up with a combination of events and capabilities that haven’t been properly outlined.”

Outside The Wall
According to Chris O’Brien, deputy executive director of the NYS Sherriffs Association, the sheriffs negotiated a deal with AT&T and Verizon in order to consolidate commission rates and to provide greater call security and anti-fraud provisions. “That was wide open and it was real easy to get outside the wall,” he said.

O’Brien insisted that collect calls made by inmates are the same as those made outside the wall. “There must be an error somewhere,” he said regarding the higher bills. “If that is true they are violating the agreement.”
Ron Essel, Communications Analyst II for Civil Service Communications for Suffolk County said that such operator-assisted calls are typically more expensive, but noted that the sheriffs department is currently negotiating a new phone commission for the county in order to lower the rate, but he couldn’t be more specific.

Essel was incredulous at the high costs reported by Santacroce -- he said that the Federal Communication Commission prohibits phone companies from preventing calls from overflowing onto other carriers.

“And their rates are really not regulated to any great extent any longer,” he said, adding it is “absolutely not standard” for such high fees to be leveled.
“[Gouging] was never the intent, but because of the changes in the phone regulations, strange things have happened. But I assure you there was no intent on the county’s part to make these rates exorbitant.”

Randolph suggested that high bills like those received by The Independent’s sources are not policy of the phone companies but the result of a practice known in the industry as “slamming,” in which “scurrilous” long-distance phone carriers reroute calls. However, judging from complaints by inmates, it seems virtually every phone call made from a prison mysteriously gets re-routed.

“We have over 13,000 land lines for Suffolk,” he said. “On occasion we get slammed with a bill that we refuse to pay because there has been an unauthorized changing of the carrier.”

Walter Denzler, Corrections Undersherriff for Suffolk County went on further, saying higher rates may be the work of the inmates themselves to circumvent the existing system. “If people are getting bills for collect calls from the jail from other than Verizon, I’d certainly like to know about it,” he said.

In the meantime, Santacroce said he’d still accept calls from Michael, regardless of the increased cost, but he wonders about inmates’ families who may not be able to afford to keep in touch with loved ones behind bars.

“Are we really helping people?” he asked, “Or are we just putting more dollars in someone’s pocket?”

You Laugh at me because I'm different
I laugh at you because you look the same
(soccer mom)
11-10-04 04:14
No 540741
User Picture 
      Please help us     

"ET" Can Phone Home But Prisoners Can't Afford To Phone Home

By: Reverend P.R. White

Being able to talk to one's family and loved ones is essential to keeping families together, spirits high and affections exchanged. That's even more true for prisoners and their families.

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections actually has cruel policies ("Institutional Placement" August 26, 1996) which intentionally separate prisoners from their home areas and from their loved ones. Visits are impossible or very expensive. Most prisoners spend long periods of bitter isolation far from those they love and the forces which could rehabilitate them. Many, especially the minorities, are illiterate and unable to correspond effectively with home and loved ones.

For most prisoners' families, the telephone is the primary way that they can keep in touch with their imprisoned loved one. But there is an almost unbelievably greedy catch: the telephone charges!

Thanks to telephone competition, phone fees are low for all telephone calls except calls from prisoners. You can call a prisoner's wife from anyplace in the state. It will cost you between 5 cents and 9 cents a minute. For a 15 minute chat you'd pay between 75 cents and $1.35. Almost anyone can afford that.

It's very much different when the prisoner himself phones his wife. Firstly, he can't pay for the charges himself. He must call collect and impose the charge on the receiving party, his wife or loved one. But the worst part is the enormity of the charge. Just to connect the call costs the prisoner's wife $4.84! Instead of paying 5 cents a minute, the prisoner's wife must pay an unbelievable 60 cents a minute! That's more than 10 times as much as any of the rest of us pay! The call that cost you 75 cents to make costs the prisoner's loved one $13.24! That's 17 and a half times as much and only because she's talking to her imprisoned husband.

You have no sympathy. Being caught up in the vindictive mania of these extremist times, you figure that prisoners "deserve" to be treated badly. They "deserve" to be unfairly gouged. But it isn't the prisoner who's being punished. It's his family. It's the innocent people at home, among the poorest people in the nation.

But, there's more to this greed story. Guess where the money goes. It's split in half.  Half of the enormous fee goes to the phone companies as immoral windfall profits. but the other half goes directly into the state treasury. It amounts to a tax paid by prisoners' families for the privilege of occasionally talking with their distant loved one.

The family has no choice. It can't go to a competitor. The State has created a greedy monopoly. Agents of the Department of General Services got together with representatives of AT&T and/or Bell Atlantic. Together they cooked up a contract. There was no bidding, no lowest price, no help out the poor people who have loved ones in prison. The contract was a collaboration designed to line the pockets of big business and of big government.

You wouldn't want it done to you and you shouldn't tolerate it being done to anyone else.

We urge you to Boycott AT&T. Boycott Bell Atlantic. Take your business to a competitor. Don't reward these companies which are gouging poor people and then making political contributions to the regime which gave them the gravy.

This article was written by someone in Pennsylvania where AT&T happens to be the greedy company.  However, in my state it is MCI, so states vary on this.  I, myself, cannot boycott the one and only link I have to my loved one but I would appreciate any of you that can and will.  If you have never been through this ordeal then you have no idea how hard it can get at times.frown

There's a terrorist behind every Bush.
(Stoni's sexual toy)
11-10-04 12:06
No 540806
User Picture 
      > You can call a prisoner's wife from ...     

> You can call a prisoner's wife from anyplace in the state. It will cost you
> between 5 cents and 9 cents a minute.

A call from Europe to the US currently costs about 2 cents per minute (well, not from everywhere in Europe, but that's the cheapest rate I have encountered so far).
Seems like you are all fucked in the butt 24/7 by your telcos.

BUSH/CHENEY 2004! After all, it ain't my country!
(soccer mom)
11-10-04 12:17
No 540809
User Picture 

That's true, but phone companies have numerous "plans" for customers, such as "friends and families".  It allows people to pay flat fees for frequently called numbers, etc.  However, they, not only exclude cheaper plans for prisners and their families, but jack the prices up higher.mad

There's a terrorist behind every Bush.

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