News from President Toni Preckwinkle

Toni Preckwinkle calls for fair phone rates for inmates

Toni Preckwinkle calls for fair phone rates for inmates Originally published in the December 3, 2012 edition of the Chicago

For too long, inmates in Cook County have faced a significant barrier to communicating with their loved ones: high-priced phone calls. Inmates and their families have been asked to pay incredibly high rates to talk on the phone, as much as $15 for 15 minutes.

Overcharging families for basic communication is inconsistent with my administration’s values. To that end, we have negotiated a new agreement with Securus Technologies, the Dallas-based company that provides the technology at Cook County jails, which will allow inmates to make more calls at a much lower cost. Prices will be cut in half and calls will be twice as long.

From now on, instead of a five-minute call at booking, inmates will be given 15 minutes worth of free calls; for paid calls we have extended the call time from 15 minutes to 30 minutes. We have also eliminated surcharges and reduced connection fees.

I realize some readers may not care what the calling rates are at the jail and may find inmates unsympathetic characters because they have been charged with committing crimes.

Let me explain why this issue is important to me.

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2 Responses

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  2. Audrea Williams

    I would to say thank you to President Periwinkle. The statement she made is right many people do not care until it happens to them. My husband has been incarcerated since October waiting trail. Between the placing money on his books for his basic needs and then the phone call, not sure how I can afford to pay for a lawyer. I spend in Oct I spent over a hundred dollars just for him to speak to his family. Just thank you again for taking on this issue.

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