By Mike Ludwig, Truthout
This story is the result of a nine-month investigation and part one of a multimedia series on deaf prisoners, as part of a reporting collaboration with the Making Contact radio program.
This site deals with the issue of prison and jail phone calls, which typically cost much more than non-prison calls. Prison phone contracts are based on a "commission" model, where the phone service provider pays a commission (kickback) to the contracting government agency, such as a state prison system or county jail. These kickbacks inflate the costs of prison and jail phone calls, which in the vast majority of cases are paid not by prisoners but by their family members. This website includes detailed information on state-by-state prison phone rates and commission data, as well as reports, articles and other resources related to prison phone services and the prison phone industry.
Also please visit the Campaign for Prison Phone Justice site, which includes resources for getting involved in this issue as an advocate or activist.
Inmate Calling Service (ICS) phone rates are in a state of flux as the result of two partial stays issued by a Federal Court of Appeals in a lawsuit challenging an order issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in late 2015 that included rate caps and other reforms. The lawsuit was filed by Global Tel*Link, Securus, and Telmate, so those companies can continue the practice of price gouging prisoners and their families. As a result of the court-issued stays, the FCC's 2015 rate caps have NOT gone into effect. The posted rates below reflect the most recent information we have, but may not be the current rates for phone calls made from some state prison systems. Please check with the appropriate prison system or ICS service provider for current rates.