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Call Charges Add Up Fast

For people wishing to talk to inmates at the Niagara County Jail, like most other jails who use Global Tel Link, or similar companies, it works like this: You contact Global Tel Link to charge a credit or debit card to put money on your phone in $25 or $50 amounts.

The family member uses her credit card and puts $25 on her phone using the automated Global Tel Link phone number. It takes between five and 15 minutes to get through.

There is a $5 charge to put the money on the phone.

It is one of the few business models known that regularly charges users a fee to take their money.

Every subsequent call has a connection fee.

Your first phone call costs you, in addition to the $5 charge to put money on your phone, $1.85 to connect the call to the inmate.

By the time you start your first call you have $18.15. A 30-minute call costs between $3 and $6.

After your first call - at 10 cents a minute - you have $15.15.

Each additional 30 minute call costs $4.85.

After your second 30 minute call you have $1.85 to connect, $3 to talk. You now have $11.30. After the third call you have $7.45. A fourth call leaves you with $3.60.

A fifth call leaves you with $1.60.

You cannot make a sixth call because there is not enough to make the connection fee, and the $1.60 is forfeited. For $25 you get five 30-minute calls.

Profits on phone calls from inmates in jail: Is it a legitimate, honest fundraising mechanism for a county jail system or abuse of the families of incarcerated citizens by use of predatory telephone rates?



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

OCT 29, 2013