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Thread: prison phone companies

  1. #1

    Default prison phone companies

    so i have a younger brother who has been sitting in a county jail in tennesee for close to 2 years while his trial runs it course. soon he will be sentenced to 25+ years in a federal prison for serious crimes comitted while in the army. so to make a long story short my brother effed up big time and while we hated each other growing up i still love him despite the despicable things he did and try to keep in contact with him via letters and occasional phone call and so does my mom.

    the big problem i have is the high cost prison phone companies get to charge families for the opportunity to stay in contact with their imprisoned loved one. essentially you pay on average 20 dollars and 4.95 for the processing fee and you get less than a 20 min call. i just feel like its high way robbery and sadly you never hear about our elected representitives promoting a bill to put price controls in place in an effort to get prices more in line with a typical phone call......a reasonable profit is one thing but to take advantage of families in distress dealing with some thing like this just doesnt seem right. not to mention there really isnt competition out there so just a couple companies have the whole market for prison phone calls so if you are unhappy, u cant shop around. also customer service is either non existent or you wait on hold for 25 mins or more to speak with some one and believe me, things do go wrong.

    so what do we all think about this? im especially interested in hearing from people who have a loved one in prison/jail and have to pay the high prices just to speak with them from time to time.

    also how did you cope with not having the person around or knowing what the person faces in prison? oddly it wasnt tell i got a phone call today from my brother, that i all of a sudden felt a wave of saddness wash over me like all i can do is talk on the phone when he calls but totally powerless other wise...

  2. #2

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    The prison system in this country is pretty ridiculous in general sadly.

    As far as the phone system, I agree with you. It's exploitative, but no one cares because people in jail deserve whatever hardships they face. You know like rape and assault. That's completely ok. I mean, granted it sounds horrible, so we don't want to actually list that as part of the sentence. Then we might realize we're all really scummy people. And then we might not be able to act as shocked when people come out of prison worse than they went in. But if they didn't want that sort of treatment, they shouldn't have smoked marijuana or taken (non-prescribed) methamphetamine.

    Anyway... it's inane and the reasons for not addressing it are a combination of more inanity in addition to sheer malice on the part of the public and corporations. Whatever your brother did or did not do doesn't change that fact.

    As far as to how people cope with it, from direct observation I'd say people tend to do their best to simply not think about it. I can't really think of a good coping mechanism for it to be honest.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by LunaCat View Post
    The prison system in this country is pretty ridiculous in general sadly.

    As far as the phone system, I agree with you. It's exploitative, but no one cares because people in jail deserve whatever hardships they face. You know like rape and assault. That's completely ok. I mean, granted it sounds horrible, so we don't want to actually list that as part of the sentence. Then we might realize we're all really scummy people. And then we might not be able to act as shocked when people come out of prison worse than they went in. But if they didn't want that sort of treatment, they shouldn't have smoked marijuana or taken (non-prescribed) methamphetamine.

    Anyway... it's inane and the reasons for not addressing it are a combination of more inanity in addition to sheer malice on the part of the public and corporations. Whatever your brother did or did not do doesn't change that fact.

    As far as to how people cope with it, from direct observation I'd say people tend to do their best to simply not think about it. I can't really think of a good coping mechanism for it to be honest.
    i think its very easy to point out there is a real good reason for "most" people to be in jail or prison. its harder to aknowledge that not only is the prisoner still a human being but so is the family and friends left behind to deal with everything. sometimes that letter or phone call is the only thing that keeps things going for both parties involved.

    i really wished prisons operated more from the healing/rehabilitation stand point rather than vengence is mine, ehh who cares if you get violated with a toilet plunger, you deserve to be there mentality. people who comitte crimes need to be locked up but where im alone in my thnking usually is that our tax dollars as well as communities would be better served if we got to the heart of why the crime was comitted and tried to help the person while in side rather than provide a breeding ground for self loathing and outward hatred of society just waiting to be unleashed once parole comes around...

    any ways to the point of the post, price gouging should be illegal and in many instances it is but families with a family member in prison arent exactly filled to the brim with money or influence in washington dc so we suffer quietly.

    this goes to show that when some one goes to prison, we all go to prison in some way or another...

  4. #4

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    we got to the heart of why the crime was comitted and tried to help the person
    Problem is, if prison isn't horrible... people arn't afraid of it. Personally I think they need to bring back hard labour .. if you commit a serious crime, you should have to spend a few years where every day you go out into a hot field somewhere and break rocks for 10 hours. I think that would do more to stop crime, as a deterrent, than all the rehabilitation programs that have been tried thus far.

    What would be nice is if there were programs set up specifically to hire prisoners after their sentence is finished. I'm of the belief that the leading cause of recidivism for ex-cons is that by being an ex-con, all the avenues by which they could start an honest life are curtailed or completely cut off to them.

    On topic, I would imagine that legislating for more prisoner rights is pretty low on the public priority list. Yes it's probably unfair, but there arn't enough people effected and as stated, you probably won't get much sympathy for criminals from the general public.
    Last edited by BoundCoder; 10-May-2011 at 02:59. Reason: Fix markup

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoundCoder View Post
    Problem is, if prison isn't horrible... people arn't afraid of it. Personally I think they need to bring back hard labour .. if you commit a serious crime, you should have to spend a few years where every day you go out into a hot field somewhere and break rocks for 10 hours. I think that would do more to stop crime, as a deterrent, than all the rehabilitation programs that have been tried thus far.
    I think fewer people would be deterred by harsher sentences than you'd think. Especially for the major crimes (murder, rape, etc.), because if you are going to do one of those things, you either did it on impulse, in which case the repercussions don't matter because you don't even think of them, or you don't think you're going to get caught. It's not like people go "25 years... pfffffft, that's nothing. Let's go kill people". If they're willing to risk it and have given thought to the repercussions, then they probably don't think they'll be caught, so making the sentence worse won't really change much.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoundCoder View Post
    Problem is, if prison isn't horrible... people arn't afraid of it. Personally I think they need to bring back hard labour .. if you commit a serious crime, you should have to spend a few years where every day you go out into a hot field somewhere and break rocks for 10 hours. I think that would do more to stop crime, as a deterrent, than all the rehabilitation programs that have been tried thus far.

    What would be nice is if there were programs set up specifically to hire prisoners after their sentence is finished. I'm of the belief that the leading cause of recidivism for ex-cons is that by being an ex-con, all the avenues by which they could start an honest life are curtailed or completely cut off to them.

    On topic, I would imagine that legislating for more prisoner rights is pretty low on the public priority list. Yes it's probably unfair, but there arn't enough people effected and as stated, you probably won't get much sympathy for criminals from the general public.
    couple things : this is less about the criminal and more about the families and what it takes for them to maintain contact with a prisoner. we also cant deny that families are broken up through imprisonment and one of the only ways to make the break up easier on kids and family is to keep the lines of communication open...the idea that prisoner telephone companies can charge what they want should be an issue we all care about, if we can forget for a second that a "prisoner" is one of the affected parties...

    also why does a person need to be afraid of prison for it to be effective? we have been taught for generations that this is the way things need to be but just like with the death penalty being scared of serving time doesnt prevent crime...i think the focus should be taking the person out of society for what ever length of time but the focus then should be on trying to fix the issues and getting the person ready for re entering society....but again we feel the person must be scared and truth is once they get in its scary...prison rape and getting beaten up exploited or killed are common occurences but we consider this part of the consequences and turn a blind eye....

    we cant deny that recidivism rates are a big issue and it means the current methods dont work.....its because we dont rehabilitate and once the person gets out they are more messed up and ready to do damage...ready to comitt more crime and end up in prison again....

    also all the avenues for honest life are curtailed the second the person gets to prison because of how prisons operate....

    lastly i dont think hard labour will make a good difference.....these people already feel cheated in some way but to add slave labor on top of that which almost always benefits a multi million dollar company just adds evidence to their beleif that society hates them because they are...poor....minority.....etc etc....i feel that educational programs(college-degree programs and trades and mentorships as well as maintaining healthy relationships through family visits and phone contact are keys to reducing recidivism rates.....i think whats more important is protecting society and getting the person off the street rather than getting revenge for a crime comitted

    i also beleive that the process to be forgiven should be simplified....currently you get a felony and 10 years can elaspe and you still have it hanging over your head......i think 4 years with no crimes committed should be enough to earn you a spot in front of the judge and an opportunity to make your case for having the conviction removed....

  7. #7

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    While this isnt answering the question, i think its pretty sad and speaks for itself when 3% of the the US population has spent time in jail.


    We also have the highest % of citizens in jail of all developed countrys, we put to many in jail.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Orcaway View Post
    While this isnt answering the question, i think its pretty sad and speaks for itself when 3% of the the US population has spent time in jail.


    We also have the highest % of citizens in jail of all developed countrys, we put to many in jail.
    i would think the percentage would be higher than 3 percent but i agree with your statement that we put more people in jail than any other developed countries...we allmost wear that badge with pride...like we are so tough...just like the flag waving chest pounding usa usa rah rah nationalism we seem to exhibit when it comes to matters of war....as if any of the wars we have fought in the past decade have been to make us safer and "protecting" america....

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by waslost1234abc View Post
    i would think the percentage would be higher than 3 percent but i agree with your statement that we put more people in jail than any other developed countries...we allmost wear that badge with pride...like we are so tough...just like the flag waving chest pounding usa usa rah rah nationalism we seem to exhibit when it comes to matters of war....as if any of the wars we have fought in the past decade have been to make us safer and "protecting" america....
    Well keep in mind that 3% is ALL americans, which is pretty high considering. Im sure if you focus on specific ethnic, gender, and age groups you would get significantly higher numbers.
    we have what, close to 400million in the us? not quite that many but id say somewhere around 10 million in jail which is way too high. I personally think non violant crimes do not warrent jail time but thats just me.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Orcaway View Post
    Well keep in mind that 3% is ALL americans, which is pretty high considering. Im sure if you focus on specific ethnic, gender, and age groups you would get significantly higher numbers.
    we have what, close to 400million in the us? not quite that many but id say somewhere around 10 million in jail which is way too high. I personally think non violant crimes do not warrent jail time but thats just me.
    fair enough and it makes sense. i totally agree with you that non violent crime doesnt warrant prison time. i also wanted to add that most crimes can be traced back to issues of poverty its why a majority of people in prisons are poor but thats also due to...lady liberty and her supposed balancing scales...if you have money....u can afford good representation and if you dont have money you get the exact opposite....also people of upper income levels typically comitte white collar crimes and are more likely to get off with a slap on the wrist and no record...

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