No one is ever happy about paying high rates for making phone calls. This is especially true for those who are locked up in the nation’s prison. Being a captive audience, the inmates in America’s prisons are often deeply dissatisfied with the rates they pay to make outgoing phone calls, especially when those rates exceed the amounts that would otherwise be paid on the free market.
But it is also important to understand that the prison system operates completely differently from the free market. Many of the nation’s prisons rely heavily on the revenues that are generated from inmate calling. This money is not just used to maintain the phone systems of the prison themselves, it is also used to fund other budgetary shortfalls, including the ability of those prisons to adequately staff and maintain open beds for prisoners.
While inmates may be deeply unsatisfied with this arrangement, understandably not being excited about paying for their own incarceration, there are situations where this money that is raised from phone revenues goes directly to improve an inmate’s living standards. For example, throughout the state of California, Securus Technologies, one of the nation’s leading inmate communications providers, has paid hundreds of millions of dollars in commissions to the institutions where does business.
This, in turn, has enabled many of those institutions to reduce the number of inmates who are forced to bunk in open-air gyms due to overcrowding. As long as the revenues generated from phones are able to provide inmates with more beds in traditional cells, it means that fewer inmates will be required to bunk in dangerous open-air gym situations, where it is not uncommon for violence to erupt at any moment.
This is just one way in which the inmates paying for outgoing phone calls are actually contributing to their own safety and well-being.