Published:  April 20, 2012

Chris Duran understands the value of a phone call. Duran pays roughly $2.80 for a 15-minute phone call to talk with her partner who is incarcerated at a detention center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. That same call in Colorado would be $5.00, the difference is attributed to the unregulated prison phone rate system. Phone companies will often include high commissions to state prisons within contracts in exchange for being the exclusive service provider. The rate of these commissions inflates the cost of phone calls for families in states that have failed to regulate this practice.

Published in Inmate Telephone News
by David Carey | Published October 31, 2011 at 4:26 PM

Global Tel Link Inmate Phone Service Now Belongs To American Securities.

American Securities LLC on Friday signed a $1 billion agreement to buy Global Tel Link Corp. from rival New York buyout firm Veritas Capital, a person familiar with the matter said.

The target's owners and creditors will receive $950 million at closing and an additional $50 million if certain contingencies are met, the source said. No formal deal announcement will be issued, the source added.

Veritas declined to comment. Neither American Securities nor Global Tel Link returned phone calls.

Veritas, an 82% owner, stands to reap more than a 325% gain on its $115 million, nearly 3-year-old investment in the Mobile, Ala.-based provider of telecom services to federal prison inmates. GS Direct LLC, an investment arm of Goldman, Sachs & Co., will earn a similar return on its $15 million outlay.

Published in Inmate Telephone News
Monday, 12 September 2011 17:54

New jail phone plan may be a win-win

September 8, 2011

 

Jailphone

Families of Los Angeles County inmates who’ve been forced to pay unusually high rates for collect calls from jail telephones could soon find relief under a proposed new contract that also would generate more county revenue.

A proposed change of vendors, outlined in a letter to the Board of Supervisors from Sheriff Lee Baca and Chief Probation Officer Donald Blevins, would cut rates for an average inmate phone call from the county lockup by about 30% while adding millions in guaranteed annual funding for key inmate programs and jail maintenance.

Tentatively scheduled for consideration by the board on September 20, the recommendation to hire Public Communications Services, Inc., is the result of a competitive bidding process urged by critics, including Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who complained that families were paying too much for jail phone calls and that the county was receiving too little in the existing contract’s revenue sharing provisions.

“My argument from Day One has been that if the rates were less burdensome on inmates families who were being overcharged, then more calls would be made and more money would be generated for the Sheriff’s Department,” Yaroslavsky said. “Now we have a proposal in place that hopefully will achieve those objectives.”

The price of inmate phone calls from county jails has been controversial. Studies show that maintaining close contact with families via phone, correspondence and visits, can reduce recidivism among inmates and improve their chances of a successful reentry into society.

High phone rates deter that crucial communication. But they can also indirectly benefit inmates because, by law, the county’s portion of revenues from jail phones must go into special Inmate Welfare Funds that underwrite educational, recreational and other projects that are geared to them.

Published in Inmate Telephone News