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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 153577 Find in a Library
Title: Jails, Inmate Phone Service, and Call Rates: A Political Time Bomb Waiting To Explode?
Journal: American Jails  Volume:8  Issue:6  Dated:(January/February 1995)  Pages:27-30,32-34,37,39
Author(s): V Townsend; P Eichor
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 9
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article analyzes the inmate telecommunications industry, with attention to inmate phone service providers' (IPSP) regulatory compliance.
Abstract: Having a carefully crafted Request For Proposals (RFP) is most important in evaluating IPSP's. An RFP should solicit vendor qualifications, regulatory compliance, call rating, vendor responsibilities, technical requirements, installation requirements, facility commissions, and contract terms. In the process of selecting an IPSP, the most significant factor is usually commissions. Because inmate phone services provide ongoing revenues to the facility, it is important to understand the basic facts behind commissions and why protecting the public from unreasonable rates is imperative. Many facility administrators mistakenly believe that the commissions paid to their facilities come from the IPSP's profits. Because of the intense pressure to meet the demand for higher commissions for facilities, the unethical IPSP's have resorted to charging excessive rates for inmate collect calls. Complaints from inmate families have often resulted in unwelcome publicity about jail authorities who insist on receiving large commissions that encourage overcharges for inmate phone calls. A service provider contract should contain guarantees regarding rates, compliance with State utilities commission regulations, and compliance with Federal Communication Commission regulations. Further, contracts should not contain clauses that provide severe penalties if the facility chooses to terminate the contract when an IPSP fails to comply with the contract and such failure continues for 30 days after being notified of the breach. The leadership of national and State jail administrator associations should condemn the practice of IPSP's charging unreasonable rates and endorse the requiring of rate caps in inmate phone service contracts. 3 footnotes
Main Term(s): Corrections costs
Index Term(s): Inmate monitoring; Jails; Telephone communications
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