Friday, March 18, 2016

MDOC reduces price of phone calls

The Mississippi Department of Corrections issued the following press release:

MDOC Prison Phone Call Costs Drastically reduced

JACKSON – Effective today, the cost of prison phone calls in Mississippi is decreasing by more than 50 percent.

The cost per minute is dropping from 22 cents per minute to 11 cents and associated fees are being eliminated or reduced.

“We receive constant complaints from inmate family members and others regarding the high cost for phone service,” Commissioner Marshall Fisher said. “This decision will significantly reduce expenses to the families.”

The rate drop is the second action under Fisher’s administration to decrease direct costs to inmates’ families. In September, commissary prices were cut by 24.44 percent.

The Mississippi Department of Corrections is adopting the per-minute cap the Federal Communications Commission set last year for debit and prepaid interstate and intrastate calls. Also, per call fees were eliminated among other measures adopted.

For example, a 10-minute call will now cost $1.10 rather than $4.80. The cost of a 20-minute call will drop from $7 to $2.20.

The lower phone rate also means MDOC is losing a major source of money for the fund established and maintained for inmates’ benefit, known as the Inmate Welfare Fund.

MDOC uses commissions from telephone revenues and inmate commissary for the Inmate Welfare Fund, which pays for services, supplies and equipment toward inmates’ educational, recreational and programmatic needs.

“The Inmate Welfare Fund will be significantly reduced because of the change in phone rates,” Fisher said.

Phone commissions were $1,469,454 in the last year. Inmates made 585,286 calls.

Kingfish note: Good move. 


Anonymous said...

Inmate welfare fund??? How about using that money to set up a victims' welfare fund?

Victor Fleitas said...

@ 11:32 AM

There is a Mississippi Crime Victim's Compensation Fund which is funded through an assessment levied Statewide in almost every felony case where a determination of guilt is made through a plea or a trial. Here's a link outlining the program:

Since the Inmate Welfare Fund is funded by commissions on phone calls payable to MDOC which are, in turn, primarily funded by the families of incarcerated persons, it makes sense that such funds would be used to pay for "programs" (such as they are) within the penal system.

Gist of the story is, less commissions less programs. Given the availability of the programs and the limitations on participating in the programs, I think most families with a loved one in prison will welcome the significant drop in the price of a phone call home.

The Commissioner deserves credit for choosing to be proactive and adopt the FCC guidelines. This action is good corrections policy.

Anonymous said...

Three hots and a cot.

Messick said...

"Phone call break, boss?"

Anonymous said...

I'm questioning why they even get phone calls at all. We ain't running a country club. Prison has become so nice that everybody wants to go. They have gym equipment, cable TV, heat and AC. No wonder criminals get out and then choose to go back. It's too dang easy.

Anonymous said...

This is great news! These are collect calls. The families of the inmates are having to come up with the money. The families should not have to be penalized. These private pay phone type companies are taking advantage of people for their own profits.

Anonymous said...

@4:33 Wow are you out of touch with reality or what! I recommend you take a tour of a prison near you.

Judge Keady's Ghost Survives said...

Imagine, if you will, a warden during the day of Ross Barnett, being told that inmates could no longer be required to work the fields, could not be made to participate in labor, could no longer be required to get out of bed and pull hall or laundry duty, could not be made to ride the bus to a nearby town to pick up highway trash and would now be allowed to watch television in an air conditioned auditorium. Further, that the inmates would be allowed time to sit at a computer to research frivolous lawsuits and had to be transported here and yonder to address toothaches and hemorrhoids.

Then there conjugal visits (sex on the taxpayer's dime) and telephone privileges.

Ross had them picking up doves in September and working a cotton hoe under the guardianship of a mounted man with a shotgun. The whole system has turned to shit.

What the hell channel is Pawn Stars on?

Anonymous said...

Did it ever occur to you idiots that inmates have FAMILIES? They have wives and children and parents and siblings. ALL of these people have a real NEED to COMMUNICATE with their family member regardless of the fact that he is incarcerated. These family members have done nothing WRONG. Why do you think THEY should be punished???

Anonymous said...

Don't do the crime, if you don't want the time.

Anonymous said...

Funny. This isn't MDOC mandating this, it's due to an FCC ruling.

Anonymous said...


Parchman does not have A/C or cable.

Commit a crime, see for yourself.

Anonymous said...

"Families have a NEED to COMMUNICATE "

Cry me a river.
These so called families should have been communicating (don't do the crime) to their loved one . . .way before he landed in the University of Parchman.

Since Obama is now pushing free diapers "fer da cheer'uns" . . . the cost of phone calls to baby daddy should offset that that financial burden on the convict's so called family.

Hell, if MDOC wants to raise money for the inmate Pepsi & cheetos fund . . .they should start charging for
conjugal visits.

Anonymous said...

What a shame - Parchman doesn't have cable. But, wrong on the A/C claim.

Anonymous said...

It is a shame that people who love someone locked up must pay such higher fees to talk to them, but these savings will be passed along to the taxpayers. Fisher also recently began closing community work centers so inmates who were actually giving something back to society can no longer so so. Mr. Fisher is a disaster. In an effort to replace a crook, we got a guy who will do even more damage to the system.

Anonymous said...


"...To ensure inmates have enough water to drink at the State Penitentiary —which isn’t air-conditioned and has reached the high 90s lately"

Article from last year. Don't talk about things with authority when you have no direct knowledge.

Source: Clarion-Ledger Article

Anonymous said...

Parchman does NOT have AC in the housing units where the inmates live and they do have cable. They can purchase little tablet size TV's from the prison and watch in their cells. All that being said, a visit to Parchman would quickly cure any notion that these inmates are in a country club.

Anonymous said...

Parchman is no country club. It is hell on earth. Gouging inmates is a sin.

Prison shouldn't be a cakewalk. But it shouldn't be inhumane. A phone call might give an inmate hope. And hope might be what is needed to rehabilitate.

Anonymous said...

Prison must not be that bad. Look at all of the prisoners who have returned for another visit after being released. It prison was really bad more people would avoid doing anything that would make them return.

Anonymous said...

Some of the commenters are morally inferior to the inmates.

What, for instance, is a six-year-old child's responsibility for his father's committing a crime? Talking to YOU, 9:33. Tell us.

I hate sharing a country with such monsters as you. North Korea seems much more your speed.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of doing hard time":

The MDOC convicts (Epps and gang) will get a much warmer reception from their fellow inmates thanks to this reduction.

It will probably suck for the gang members when their fellow inmates request their rebates for their prior over-payments directly from the culprits.

The Soft Life said...

I personally remember seeing trustys on horseback with shotguns resting on their thigh. I personally remember inmates hoeing cotton in the fields and picking up roadside trash all over Bolivar and Sunflower county. Was there many times in 'efforts' to transition some from prison to work. Forced labor was the order of the day, to be expected and it was accepted.

Then, thanks to people like Rims Barber, Catholic Charities, Amnesty International and ACLU (with the help of federal judges) we got soft.

Today it may not be a 'country club', but it's mighty soft indeed compared to 1965. And there was certainly zero access to telephones, condoms and 'know your rights' pamphlets.

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