In addition to keeping families better connected, studies show a public safety benefit to reducing prison phone call rates.
Incarcerated people who maintain contact with the outside world are less likely to commit new crimes upon re-entering society. Family and friends can help a formerly incarcerated person find housing and employment.
Advocates argue that prison communications companies, namely Securus and Global Tel Link, have taken advantage of minimal government regulation and charged above-market value rates for phone calls in many states since the 1990s. State and local corrections departments that contract with the companies typically receive a percentage commission of each call, which may be used to pay for staff equipment, maintenance needs or prisoner programs.