Prison inmates needs to use the phone in order to talk to members of their family who are not able to visit the prison in person. Inmates are not allowed to use the Internet or cell phones as a way to communicate. Prisons have special phone systems. Inmates can set up accounts in order to use them. An inmate will be able to add money to his or her account whenever they feel like it. The money will be subtracted from the account whenever the inmate makes a call. Global Tel-Link is one of the biggest companies in North America when it comes to supplying prisons with phone service for their inmates.
Global Tel-Link has come under fire because of their practice of charging rates that are much higher than they need to be. The company has constantly defended itself by saying that it is following the letter of the law. This is a true statement because there are currently not any restrictions regarding what prison phone companies can charge for their service. However, many people in the media and inmate family members have questioned the morals and ethics of the companies that are involved in the prison phone industry as a whole. Global Tel-link and its competitors all charge very high rates that many inmates cannot afford.
There has been an outcry for the federal government to take action against the outrageous price increases that prison phone companies are using to make huge profits. However, the government has been very hesitant to go to war with companies like Global Tel-Link. This is because many politicians want to keep getting large donations from the prison phone industry. They need this money to build up their campaign war chests. It seems unlikely that these politicians will bite the hand that is feeding them.