The objective of this petition is to call attention to the exorbitant and often prohibitive costs of prison phone calls in Illinois. The contract to provide telephone service to all Illinois prisons was awarded to Consolidated Public Services, a division of Consolidated Communications, Inc. Intrastate rates vary according to how far the recipient of the collect call is from the prison initiating the call. They can be as high as 26 cents per minute plus a surcharge (commonly referred to as a connection fee) of up to $2.50 per call. Out-of-state rates are 89 cents per minute with a $3.95 surcharge (connection fee). The ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS insists that the high rates are necessary in order to maintain monitoring and security of all phone calls. However, federal prisons, who must also monitor phone calls and maintain high levels of security, provide federal inmates with an 800-number that costs only 7 cents per minute with no surcharge. Some states use prepaid phone cards to reduce the cost. It is possible to significantly reduce the cost of prison telephone calls. The state receives a kickback commission from Consolidated that amounts to millions of dollars per year. These funds are then considered to be income by the state and are used in various ways. Because other states use these funds as a means to provide goods and services for inmates it is logical to assume that Illinois does likewise. Such goods and services are rightly the responsibility of the state, and not the burden of inmates or their family members. This system is tantamount to imposing a high and unlegislated tax upon families and friends of inmates. Individuals who themselves have done nothing wrong and are in many cases already enduring economic hardship in supporting their inmates
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Marie, United States11 months ago Comments: My son have been locked up for a long time, I am unable to go see him because I am handicapped, phone calls are expensive, I would like to also set up and account to send him money,
Jen, United States12 months ago Comments: -
Jeanette Benavidez, United States12 months ago Comments: -
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