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.