LANSING, Mich. — Inmates in the Ingham County Jail will pay less for phone calls under the terms of a newly approved contract.
At least one prisoner advocate says it's a step in the right direction but still not enough.
Phone rates for prisoners will drop down to 21 cents per minute down from 91 cents per minute. The move comes as part of a mandate from the Federal Communications Commission requiring lower fees for prisoner phone calls.
Ingham County Commissioner Derrell Slaughter says it's expected to have an impact on recidivism rates.
“Being able to communicate via phone call or video chat or even as an e-message there are studies that have shown that reduces the likelihood of of those people coming back to jail,” said Slaughter.
Daniel Jones works with an advocacy group called the Michigan Collaborative to End Mass Incarceration.
Jones applauds what Ingham County is doing because it will help families.
“Ingham County has been one that has stepped out and said, 'OK, we understand the problem here,' and they’ve done something to address it. But other counties in the state of Michigan just allow these high prices to exacerbate the situations of people facing criminal trials for being poor, having mental health issues or drug abuse issues,” Jones.
The contract change will take effect right away.
Slaughter says the County makes about $100,000 a year on prisoner phone calls but that number is expected to drop due to the change.
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