According to an Independent Record report, incoming calls from jails in Montana may actually get cheaper. These prisoners’ loved ones may soon find prison calls more affordable.
Prison inmates and jail detainees in Montana will soon be able to enjoy cheaper calls to their families. This may soon become a reality. The Montana Public Service Commission recently voted on the need to cap call rates emanating from within Montana prisons and jails.
Sponsored Bill to Change the Way Prisoners Make Calls
Earlier this year, Rep. Ellie Hill-Smith, a Democrat representing Missoula, sponsored a bill. It allows jail inmates in Montana to call their attorneys for free.
This move will protect the rights of individuals to counsels under the 6th Amendment. Plus, the representative emphasized that the office of the state’s public defender will save up to $35,000 from collect calls.
The Montana Legislature and the State Senate had earlier voted 50-0 and 78-21 respectively. They voted in favor of cheaper incoming calls from jails in Montana. Gov. Steve Bullock, in March, signed the bill into law.
Brad Johnson is chairman of the Montana Public Service Commission in East Helena. He observed that families of prison inmates in the state pay more for a few minutes of calls from prisons than such families pay for cellphone services for a whole month:
“‘There is a wide variance between calling rates at different detention facilities,’ the commission said in a statement. ‘In some places, inmates or their families pay nearly $15 for a 15-minute phone call. Jails typically earn a commission off of the revenue earned by the companies providing inmate calling services.'”
Costs of Incoming Calls from Jails in Montana Will Drop Soon
If all goes well, it is expected that calls from prisons should:
- Cap at $0.25 per minute, amounting to $3.75 for 15 minutes
- Cap at $0.21 for each minute of calls made with pre-paid phone cards
It must however be pointed out that based on a contract, calls made from Montana Department of Corrections facilities are limited to $0.14 per minute. This helps limit the costs of incoming calls from jails in Montana.
The general public can forward their comments on the proposed policy to the Montana Public Service Commission between now and September 18. After that, the commission will hold a hearing before finally approving a course of action for cheaper prison call rates.
Prison Calls Companies in the US
In California, CDCR and county jail inmates use Global Tel Link, also known as GTL for incoming prison calls. We have never been pleased with their costs.
What companies does your inmate use to call home from prison? What do you like or dislike about that inmate calling company?
Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.