Prisoners who are incarcerated in prisons around the United States do not have access to mobile phones and email as forms of communication. Therefore, they must rely on the phones provided by the prisons as the only way of getting in touch with their loved ones and legal advisors. The way that the prison phone industry works has caused a great deal of controversy. This is because prisoners are not given a variety of choices where their phone service providers are concerned. Each prison only has one company providing its phone service. Needless to say, the companies that provide this phone service can tend to get greedy since they have no competition.
Telmate is one of the largest companies in the prison phone service industry. They have exclusive contracts to provide the phone service for many prisons in the United States. Inmates and their families often complain that the rates that are charged by Telmate and their competitors are much more than they should be. The high cost of making phone calls in prisons has made it very difficult for inmates to stay in regular contact with people in their family. Another concerning issue is the fact that prisoners often have trouble calling their lawyers. This can be especially problematic if the prisoner’s lawyer has filed an appeal and the process is underway. It is important for the lawyer to keep the prisoners updated on how the appeal is going.
Telmate allows inmates in the prisons it services to create an account that they can deposit money into. Money will be deducted from this account when the inmate places a phone call. Calls made within the state where the inmate is being incarcerated cost a different amount than calls made to a different state. Telmate has said that it is proud of its reputation and considers itself to be one of the most reputable companies in the prison phone service industry. However, the high price of prison phone calls continues to generate an enormous amount of controversy. It remains to be seen if anything will ever be done about it.