Prison Telephone Services
Global Tel*Link is one of the major players in the $1.2 billion business of providing phone service to private and government prisons, according to Bloomberg. The Mobile, Alabama-based company has about half of the correctional phone services market and Securus Technologies has about 30%. Both companies make excessive profits with exclusive contracts with prisons. The major prison telephone companies and the prisons have a de facto partnership. As part of the contract, the prison receives commissions from the exorbitant charges paid by inmates and their families.
At the Contra Costa West County Detention Facility in Richmond, California, detained immigrants pay about $20.00 for a fifteen minute telephone call. Phone Justice for Immigrants in Detention reported that Global Tel*Link pays Contra Costa County a commission of up to 57% on phone calls, in addition to a $75,000 bonus for awarding the exclusive contract. The county received $653,506 in commissions from Global from 2011 – 2012.
PrisonPath.com posted about the unsavory practices of the prison telephone companies in previous articles such as “Predatory Prison Telephone Companies-Updated” and in “A Victory Against Predatory Telephone Rates.”
It is time to bring this unholy alliance to an end. Telephone communications between the families and their loved ones who are incarcerated should be a top priority for any correctional system. It is recognized that strong family ties contribute to an inmate’s successful reentry. Lower telephone rates contribute to a lower recidivism rate.