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Michigan Department of Corrections announces nearly 40% reduction of prisoner phone rates

Amid spiking COVID-19 infections, prisons turning to solitary confinement to reduce spread of virus
Posted at 3:39 PM, Sep 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-29 15:53:26-04

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Department of Corrections has announced a reduction of prisoner phone rates by nearly 40%. The phone rate will now be 8.7 cents per minute.

The reduction in rate came after a contract renegotiation with ViaPath Technologies, Michigan Department of Correction’s telecommunications provider. It is expected to save families up to $11 million per year. The current rate is 14 cents per minute.

ViaPath will also now provide one free 10-minute phone call to prisoners every week.

“Today we are taking action to save families money while also providing incarcerated Michiganders a way to communicate with their kids, partners, and loved ones,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

“Enabling prisoners and their loves ones to maintain communication and in an affordable fashion is good for everyone involved,” said Michigan Department of Corrections Director Heidi Washington. “This new rate will not only help keep important community connections intact and save prisoners and families money, but the same level of vital technological and security services will stay in place.”

“Safe & Just Michigan wants to thank Governor Whitmer for recognizing that keeping incarcerated people connected to their friends and families promotes successful rehabilitation and reentry,” said Safe & Just Michigan Executive Director John Cooper. “This reduction in phone fees will make a real difference to families all across our state struggling to stay connected despite losing a wage earner to incarceration. This change in fees will pay off in safer Michigan communities.”

The new prisoner phone rate will go into effect on October 1.

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