York County Prison has now joined the ranks for one of the most expensive institutions when it comes to calls home. It imposes high prison calls charges to keep its doors open.
Inmate Chris Guido and his prison loved one, Keena Minifield, who live in York City, have recently confirmed this. They share their tough experiences as they stayed in communication when Guido was incarcerated in York County Prison in Pennsylvania.
With Guido serving 9-months in Prison, Minifield had terrible financial options.That strain sometimes meant choosing between refilling her gas tank or pay for a 20-minute phone call.
There were several times when Minifield could not afford the high prison calls charges. She ended up spending almost $300 on prison phone calls during the nine-month span.
Those high costs of the calls from prison were secretly part of the jail’s telecommunications contract.
These high prison calls charges have yielded the county of York approximately $900,000 annually in commissions since 2013. In 2013 alone, the figure was $1.25 million.
York county contracted Global Tel Link (GTL) in 2003. The County doesn’t charge GTL to offer telecommunication services to prisoners.
Instead, GTL pays the county 69% of the monthly revenue it charges the prisoner-family calls. The cost is levied on per-minute basis alongside other fees.
High Prison Calls Charges: How The Prisons Spent The Money
That fund goes into the Inmate Telephone Revenue Fund of the county. The money is spent on aspects like:
- Repairing prison roofs.
- Purchasing guards’ body-armor vests
- Repairing and buying prison vehicles
- Repairing the prison cameras, and other monitoring equipment
These contracts are contrary to public service contract laws. Instead of government agencies tendering company which offer high-quality cheap services, states and counties are seeking prison calls higher prices.
The agencies are doing so simply because huge prices attract higher commissions. Commissioner Doug Hoke, the prison board’s president, also praises this approach. Hoke argued that telephone revenue fund enables the county to finance necessary prison improvements without charging taxpayers.
GTL is facing several lawsuits, including extorting a “captive market.” High prison calls charges compel the low-income families to forgo calling their relative, thus braking the bond. Studies prove that sufficient contact through prison calls with your loved ones while in prison reduces recidivism.
This being the reality, high rates will end up costing families hugely in the long run because calling their loved ones is a must. Chris Guido is now free. Guido says that by increasing charges on prison calls, you’re breaking the bond between the inmates and their loved ones.
He cited one fellow prisoner who hadn’t communicated to his family members in 20-months. GTL contract expires on November 16, but the prison board has unanimously approved a new three-year deal.
The Current Charge Rates On The Prison Calls
The renewed agreement doesn’t include any alteration to commissions or rates. Currently, outgoing calls from the facility cost 25-cents per minute plus other billing fees. Of it, the county receives 12-cents per minute, but strictly on intrastate calls.
In 2016, the Federal Communications Commission fixed interstate prison calls rate at 25-cents per minute, but GTL challenged the rate. Wyoming County Correctional Facility has the highest charge rates in the state. The first minute costs $2.68 and then changes to 68-cents per minute.
Stephanie Roberts spends almost $100 monthly on phone calls that she made to her imprisoned hubby. Roberts who live in Indiana with her kids was barred from visiting her husband in York prison by the long distance. The phone call was, therefore, the only alternative.
Roberts felt like the prison facility was taking advantage of people in situations like hers. She urged that if they reduced the rate of prison calls, she would probably talk to her soul mate often.
Video: Calling Home from Prison – Chris & Keena Share Their Experiences
Chris Guido and Keena Minifield share what they went through trying to communicate with each other while Chris was locked up in York County Prison. Check out the video now…