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Who knows about receiving phone calls from jail?

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Madrone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 12:05 AM
Original message
Who knows about receiving phone calls from jail?
Edited on Wed Jul-20-05 12:08 AM by Madrone
I have a friend in Kalamazoo MI that's been placed in jail for probation violation. She's trying to call some of us, but apparently they now have "prepaid" accounts that have to be set up to specific numbers, and requiring a minimum $50 depost (PLUS lots of additional fees).

I'm thinking that with the connect fees, whatever other fees they can dream up, and the cost of the long distance collect call itself it will eat that $50 in mere minutes.

I have a VOIP phone with a local Kazoo number - I don't know if the prepaid thing bypasses the "collect" status of the call thereby allowing me to take the calls on my "local" number - or if I have to have her call the WA number - or if there's another way to do this that won't break me financially.

I'm quickly discovering that the jail/prison system is one big fucking racket - all aspects of them are worse than the loan sharks.

I've never dealt with anything like this (the "system") before, so I'm not sure how to handle this. I'd like to be able to receive calls from this person, as she needs help keeping her head straight and away from the abusive husband that keeps taking up her only TWO half hour visits per week. There's GOT to be a better way than the suggested (and implied ONLY) prepaid bullshit they're telling me about.

Anyone?

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merh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 12:13 AM
Response to Original message
1. You are exactly right about the jails/prisons's phone systems
being a racket. Jails/Prisons make tons of money with their phone systems. Each institute has its own rules and system. You need to contact the jail and ask them about their phone system. Which ever system means more revenue for the institution, that is the system they are using.

You can experiment and try the different methods. Sorry I cannot be of more assistance, but each institution has its own system.

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Madrone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 12:28 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. Yeah - they use Correctional Billing Systems -
Thru SBC - and they are WAY fucked up and one of the worst ones, from what I can tell so far online.

From what I understand, the inmate picking up the phone is an automatic (say) $3 fee from the jail, then it's another (say)$3 fee to be routed through SBC, then CBS charges another (say) $3 fee for connecting you - and that's before the call even starts accumulating charges per minute.

Fucking RIDICULOUS! And CBS seems to have a habit of locking people's prepaid accounts, but continuing to deduct "service" fees while you're unable to receive calls, thereby draining your account of it's money.

MOST people wouldn't receive this much effort from me in order to help break myself - but this girl really needs it.
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WhollyHeretic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 12:14 AM
Response to Original message
2. The whole phone system is freakin' ridiculous
the collect calls from jail cost at least 5 times as much as other collect calls. I've never heard of this system but it sounds way to convoluted. The only thing I could see is just to call up the company that handles the prepaid accounts and find out just what's happening.
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necso Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 12:27 AM
Response to Original message
3. I had a buddy
call me collect from county (here in CA). (He never made bail.)

It was more expensive than a direct call, but when he had access to a phone he could just call collect (I think that he needed some small change).

There was a little blurb when he called, and you could block him from calling. (I was tempted at times, but didn't -- and others gave in to the temptation.)

Setting up accounts and numbers seems more like a non-collect thing, but maybe it's for revenue generation/access limiting too. (There were some special rates for my buddy's calls, so maybe revenue generation was going on.)
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Madrone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 09:27 AM
Response to Original message
5. kick!
morning kick -
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Theres-a Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 09:33 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. We have a friend
We write letters while we're waiting for the phone bill.We spoke to him once,I don't know how much it cost yet,so we're just using snail-mail,for now.Prison is a whole rabbithole of corrupt profitmaking, imo.
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Rhiannon12866 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 10:04 AM
Response to Original message
7. I got this in e-mail just yesterday.
It's a political "action," from Center for Constitutional Rights, to stop the huge phone overcharges faced by families of people in prison. This is truly criminal. The alert I received may just be for NY State, but this is, obviously, a national problem, so there's bound to be similar info for Michigan. Hope this helps. Take part and pass this on!

http://www.telephonejustice.org/worlddom/
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