Ask Joe: Prisoners Phone Rates

Reported by: Joe Hart
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Updated: 2/25/2013 5:47 pm
Derek Christiansen, an inmate at the Northern Nevada Correctional Center sent me a letter asking why phone rates at the prison have gone up $3.45 cents for a 30 minute call ?  He says it used to be $1.45.  Now its up to $4.90.. !

Derek I asked the Nevada Department of Corrections about this.
  The state contracts with a company called Centurylink for phone service for inmates. 
  The prison says more than 40 percent of inmate phone calls are local calls, and since local calls are the cheapest, the company, Centurylink, wasn't making any money.
  So they raised the rates on local calls.  The increase took effect February 1st.   And its now $4.90 for a 30 minute call.   There's a one dollar surcharge on each call plus 13 cents a minute -- totalling $4.90.    Again --- this is the rate for local phone calls.
That money goes into an inmate welfare fund which is used to pay for things like phone service, satellite TV and medical care for the inmates. 
  Inmates earn money through work programs at the prison so they can pay for those phone calls.
  I contacted Centurylink to find out how much profit the company makes off of the inmate calling program but I have not yet received a response.

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retired51 - 2/25/2013 10:42 PM
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I worked for the Prison system for 26 yrs. Inmates make about $20 - $30 dollars a month, if their lucky! It is the inmates family's that are getting gouged here!! The Dept. of Corrections also gets a cut of this profit! The legislature needs to investigate this! If the local phone company was doing this to the average person you would be outraged!
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