Put Money On Phone For Prison Calls – The high cost of a phone call from Cuyahoga County Jail from Ohio Prison is eight times more than a call from any prison in Ohio.
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Put Money On Phone For Prison Calls
When Kevin Lott was incarcerated in Cuyahoga County Jail in 2021, making phone calls was a way of life. But it is a way of life that is worth living.
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Lott said the phone call was necessary to bond, but his priority after serving five years in prison for robbery and related charges was to keep in touch with his children and their mother. By phone, Lott, 35, will try to coordinate birthday and holiday gifts and track their progress at school. Sometimes when talking to her older children, pay attention to their tablets or smartphones.
Calls from Cuyahoga County Jail cost 16 cents a minute, eight times more than calls from Ohio Jail. Prisoners say phone bills have made it harder for their families to maintain their families, care for their children and take care of their mental health. Some research has shown that regular phone calls also play a role in keeping people from later going back to jail or prison and strengthening the bond between parents who are incarcerated with their children.
Last month, the Prisons Policy Initiative, a non-profit crime justice research organization, took an in-depth look at the cost of phone calls in prisons across the country and how they compare to the cost of phone calls in state prisons.
In Ohio, they report that the average call to a county jail costs 20 cents per minute, which is 10 times more than a call to Ohio State Jail per minute. That gap exceeds Illinois, where a minute’s call from jail costs 20 times more than a prison.
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Most prisons and prisons enter into contracts with private companies to provide telephone services to inmates. Calls from Cuyahoga County Jail through a company called Securus cost 16 cents per minute, according to the prison policy initiative. Securus has a contract with the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center and Euclid City Jail for the same amount.
The district contract with Securus originally stated that the company would pay 35 cents per minute and the prison would receive a 70% commission. After the Federal Communications Commission imposed a maximum rate of 16 cents on out-of-state summons to Cuyahoga-size prisons, the company approved the addition, setting both in-state and out-of-state rates. State calls 16 cents per minute. One minute, two cents to the prison as a commission.
Between December 2021 and November 2022, Cuyahoga County Jail received nearly $ 300,000 in cell phone calls, according to information provided by the county. City Council spokesman Tyler Sinclair said the board had slipped into prison funds for administrative expenses. He added that the county had agreed to extend the contract until 2027 in exchange for improving the prison’s communications technology. This includes prisoner tablets and video calling devices.
Congress passed a law in December to allow the FCC to restrict domestic calls as well. Wanda Bertram, with the prison policy campaign, said rates in most states would be the same as out-of-state calls, meaning that call rates to Cuyahoga County prisons would not change.
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Lott said he would burn through a $ 20 phone card in two days making seven or eight calls. That adds up to a few hundred dollars a month to pay off loved ones out of jail.
“It’s stressful for them because they feel it is their responsibility,” he said. “If you have a daughter, you will be disappointed if you can not (pay) it will be her pride (if she) can not help you because she’s owed.”
Charles Trowbridge, who is currently an inmate at Allen Correctional Institution, said he spent $ 5,000 during his last six weeks in County Jail. He made several phone calls a day to his three-year-old son. Sometimes he reads to her on the phone.
He said the call seemed necessary to survive as he battled mental illness, which is exacerbated by the time prisoners spend in their cells. At her lowest point, she stopped calling anyone, considering it a sign that they were not sharing the financial burden. Mr Trowbridge said he had attempted suicide several times while in prison.
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“It really bothers me because the program doesn’t pay or make money, so they don’t care about talking to your family,” Trowbridge said. “They focus on spending quality time … with your children who should learn that they are growing up and loving.”
Trowbridge said he plans to use the savings to start a carpentry business or buy a home. He spent almost all of his legal protection and phone calls. Now, when he is fired, he says he will have to start all over again.
Companies like Securus and ViaPath do not charge the same everywhere. Companies negotiate contracts with the county government to set rates for inmates, pay for phone calls, and other services such as video and email calls, and companies often include fees for the county.
Securus has 42% of the prison and prison mobile services market, making it the largest company in the sector. The PPI reports that Securus also handles calls to three locations in Dallas County, Texas at just one percent per minute, the lowest rates in the country, except for areas where there is no cost data or county jail charges.
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Meanwhile, a call from Ohio State Jail via ViaPath costs just two cents a minute. According to the Ohio Department of Corrections, the two-cent tax rate for the state prison system will take effect in 2021.
Annette Chambers-Smith, director of the Ohio Corrections Department, said in a statement: Repeat “. That year, that is why we decided to cut back on the expenses of family and friends.
Lott remembers when the change took effect. He now says he is on the phone from the Ross Correctional Institution, where he is serving his sentence “every day, every day.”
“You can be with your family more because you can be on the phone more,” he said. “Other children need to listen. They need to listen to their father.”
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Cid Standifer Email is the staff writer for The Marshall Project – Cleveland. He has over a decade of editorial experience and has written for (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, Belt Magazine, Cleveland Scene, Eye on Ohio and the Washington Post. Before moving to Cleveland, he covered the military for Stars and Stripes, Army Times, Inside the Navy and USNI News. Standifer holds a Master’s degree in African History from Emory University and a Bachelor of History and Physics from Grinnell University. Coping with high prison phone rates, tired of excessive phone bills, inmates and their families are looking for cost savings.
Linda Green, 51, makes a phone call at Campbell County Jail in Jacksboro, Tenn. March 29, 2018. David Goldman / Associated Press
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Calling in prison is more than just a phone call, it is one of the few things left over. Research shows that strong family relationships with prisoners reduce the likelihood of re-incarceration and may improve outcomes for children with incarcerated parents. But the high cost of incarceration forces many low-income families to choose between talking to loved ones or paying other bills.
A growing movement across the country aims to reduce that burden – in some cases $ 3 for a 15-minute call from prison – if you do not fully cover the cost of the call.
This week, Colorado MPs installed a bill that would make all inmates’ cell phones free. Family members testify to spending thousands
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