One cannot say that correctional agencies have not made their best efforts to address the problem. On the contrary, most have been committed to risk reduction for some time.

The report points to several factors proven to work, such as risk assessment, re-entry planning and post-release supervision. Research also suggests there is a direct correlation between strong family support and successful re-entry. The frequency and quality of communication play a significant role in those relationships.

Published in Prison Legal News
Families complained after sudden and hefty price boost

Statesman Journal
12:20 AM, Feb. 5, 2011

Families and friends of Oregon prison inmates complained this week about being socked with inflated charges for prisoner phone calls, prompting a state inquiry that resulted in cancellation of the rate increase.

The uproar began Tuesday, when new rates were imposed by a Texas-based firm that contracts with the state to provide the Oregon Department of Corrections inmate telephone system.

Inmates and family members were surprised and dismayed by the higher rates, which took effect without any advance notice.

Published in Inmate Telephone News
by Brandi Grissom
Thursday, 21 April 2011 05:07

Prison Phone Kickbacks: Part 2

Regulation by State Agencies

Some actions before state regulatory agencies have had greater success. The Utilities Consumer Action Network filed a complaint against MCI with the California Public Utilities Commission over irregularities in the company’s billing practices and quality of service for calls originating from California prisons. In a 2001 settlement, MCI agreed to refund more than $520,000 in illegal overcharges to families of California prisoners. [See: PLN, Nov. 2001, p.19].

This followed a pattern of state regulatory actions and settlements dating from the early 1990s that saw a number of telecommunications companies fined and ordered to pay refunds due to illegal prison phone call billings.

In Louisiana, the state Public Service Commission ordered GTL to refund $1.2 million in overcharges from June 1993 to May 1994. In 1996, North American Intelecom agreed to refund $400,000 overcharged to members of the public who accepted prisoners’ phone calls, following an investigation by the Florida Public Service Commission. The following year the Commission ordered MCI to refund almost $2 million in overcharges on collect calls made from Florida state prisons. [See: PLN, Aug. 1998, p.8; March 1997, p.12; Sept. 1996, p.13].

Published in Inmate Telephone News
September 05, 2010 12:00 PM EDT (Updated: September 05, 2010 02:05 PM EDT)

SAO PAULO, Brazil – A teen tried to deliver cell phones by shooting arrows over a Brazilian prison’s walls with his bow. On the other side of the walls of the prison, inmates were awaiting the cell phones.

Published in Inmate Telephone News



At this point, it seems cell phones are pretty much ubiquitous in prisons across the country. Instead of relying on monitored land lines (which are typically either pay phones or make only collect calls), inmates use illegal cell phones to maintain contact with family and friends and some conduct illicit business via the smuggled devices.

Apparently, phones are so widespread, an NPR story reported, that a mother actually called up a Texas prison warden, complaining that her incarcerated son was getting poor reception from his (smuggled) phone.

Reports are flooding in from around the country on how these devices are making their way through the pores of prison walls–and some of these smuggling techniques straddle the fine line between genius and absurd:

Published in Inmate Telephone News