New Rules May Affect Prices of Inmate Phone Calls

Clarke County Jail inmates might benefit from cheaper phone calls if the Federal Communications Commission approves a crackdown on service rates Thursday.

The FCC’s proposal would cut the average price of a making a phone call by $1. Inmates using the jail’s phone service could expect to face rates of between 14 and 22 cents a minute.  The higher the inmate population at a facility the cheaper the rate.

If the FCC approves the new rates Clark County’s month-old phone service contract could require some reevaluation. That current contract calls for a charge of $2.50 or less for every 15 minutes. At the $2.50 rate of the average cost would be a little more than 16 cents a minute. Since Clark County’s jail population hovers around 350 inmates, rates will be set at 16 cents a minute or 22 cents. Under the new rule, the expected $250,000 in annual revenue fluctuate depending on number of inmates.

The FCC explicitly discourages site commissions like Clarke County’s, which they define as: “Payments in money or services from inmate calling service providers to correctional institutions or government agencies.”

But, citing legal reasons, it cannot ban them.  If FCC ommissioners approve the item at Thursday’s meeting, the order would go into effect 90 days after October 22.

For more information on the proposal, visit here.

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