If you have someone in jail or prison you know how many communication barriers appears at once. Even the simplest thing – call your friend or family member– is now impossible. You can never call your inmate, so they can only make outgoing calls to you.
It depends on where they are now. For example, if the person was just arrested they will be able to call right after the end of the booking process. If they have been sentenced there is a step-by-step process for them to go through.
Firstly, staff will spend some time to classify the inmate through medical, physical, and psychological examination during intake. It can take a day or several weeks, and during this period inmates can’t have visitors, make phone calls or receive mail.
Each facility has a special time when inmates are allowed to make calls. It differs depending on the facility. Normally, inmates can’t start making calls before the morning roundup and count. If any problems appear, you can expect delays in phones’ availability for use. Also, inmates can’t use telephones during a lock-down.
Inmates can only make outgoing calls and under no circumstances are incoming calls allowed. The normal method of calling is via “collect call” (cell phones cannot receive collect calls). However, you can receive calls on your cell phones via PrisonConnect call redirection.
You should be on an inmate’s approved telephone list. Normally, the inmate will submit a list of phone numbers after he firstly admitted. Sometimes inmates forgot your number and won’t be able to add it to the list. Yes, it happens. Don’t be upset! It is possible to add your number anytime. It is a good idea to include your number in the letter you write to them. In some states, like Texas, there are special sites where you can register your phone number with the Department of Corrections.
Unfortunately, being on the list doesn’t guarantee the receiving of the call. Here are some reasons for that:
Always keep in mind that your calls are monitored and recorded! Never discuss any crimes or things that can lead to additional charges.
If you want to have a contact with the inmate, firstly the inmate should list you to his/her approved contact list.
You can apply online, or you can print it and mail. However, it is not a rare thing when mail-room staff loses the application and claiming they never got it in the first place.
You will have to wait as long as it is mentioned on the site. If nothing happens and you still haven’t received a call from the inmate, call the prison and politely ask the officer for information about your application status.
Now you can start investigating provider’s prices. You can do this while waiting for approval of the application. Knowing their prices allow you to understand how often your inmate can call you and how much money you’ll spend each month. The bad thing is that these providers (Securus, Global Tel Link or IC Solutions) tend to charge you with the maximum rate. Now it is $0.25/minute, but due to new FCC changes the price can increase significantly. Luckily, PrisonConnect allows you to use the number that is local to the facility. This way you’ll be charged for only $0.06/minute.
Once you’ll get a call from the strange number. Answer it and you’ll hear an automated voice that will say that the inmate is calling from the facility. Something like:
“Hello, this is a prepaid call from [their name in their voice], an inmate at [facility name].. To accept charges, press [button]. To refuse charges, press [button].”
You push the button to accept and finally get to talk for a few minutes that feel like a few seconds. Plus, your call is monitored/recorded. And then…
“You have one minute remaining,” the automated voice chimes carelessly into your conversation. One minute later, you will be cut off. No ifs, ands, or buts. You will be cut off, and it will likely be mid-sentence.
Major prison phone companies like Securus, Global Tel Link or IC Solutions incur enormous fees and prices, but, luckily, you can reduce the cost.
The first thing you can do is to spend less time on the phone and prepare a list of things you want to discuss with your loved one. Having a list of items to talk about will reduce any wasted time during your conversations.
If this option is not for you and you want to talk more with your loved one then you can reduce the cost of call by having a number local to the facility. This is how PrisonConnect works. You can read more about how it works and how much you can save here – www.prisonconnect.us