Jail Problems

I work in poor communities and one of the issues they have that no one wants to talk about are the financial problems born primarily by the poor communicating with an incarcerated loved one.

We live in literally the worst time in U.S. and world history for imprisoning the poor. The United States now imprisons more people than any other country in the world and in the history of the world. Here’s the numbers: 650 people for every 100,000 people. We have 327.2 million people in the U.S. I am sticking with round numbers so 327,000,000 / 100,000 = 3,270 x 650 = 2,125,500+ people in jail. Those numbers don’t include many immigrants. I also rounded down. Every one of those people have families that are paying from 25 cents a minute to 2.00 dollars a minute for phone calls. Contrary to popular belief they are not all mass murderers or even murderers. Their families need help maintaining contact with loved ones. Does anyone have any advice I can help my clients with on this subject?

Thank you,

Sandy Brigando, MA.Ed

Head Start Home Base Visitor

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No. I too have clients that run into this problem, and don’t know of any resources available. I’m following this, hoping someone has some information.

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It is unfortunate that the costs are so high and I don’t know much about the topic or of any solutions to this problem.

I was listening to a radio program a while back and they were talking about what a huge business it is for the people providing the services.

It does seem quite one sided as far as the benefits go though.

Thank you!

Buy qualifying for programs that provide free prepaid phones and free minutes to low-income applicants. There rare a few of them out there.

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Are jail inmates allowed to have a phone? I doubt it. But I’ll check. The families that qualify usually have the phones. This does not reduce the costs for most people. Most are working class families, living a few bucks above the poverty line. Those three million people in jail all have families, most work. Many of these people are innocent. That’s why they have organizations like the Innocence Project.

Thank you for your reply and your suggestion! I do appreciate it. Our prisons for profit is only profiting the gov. and the companies. They are robbing the families, much the way North Korea works is by punishing the families as we do. A small bottle of Head and Shoulders costs 7 dollars, a 6 oz pack of tuna is 4 dollars. Sheriff’s make their bonuses according to how much they can reduce the cost of feeding prisoners. Prisoners are being fed off of commissary by their families.

Sandy…writing letters helped in my situation. Although I couldn’t talk to my partner every day, I could hear his voice in the letters. We had to censor what we wrote because every letter got opened and read for content. They took a bit over a week from sending to receiving. I wrote nearly everyday. His paper, stamps, and envelopes were a commissary purchase.