Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum D L T B G Y D

10May/070

Correctional Billing Services

I have been getting some sort of automated phone call every day for the last week or so, and yesterday at lunch I decided to try and figure out what it is. I called back to the number and it asked me for my name, address, last 4 of social, all kinds of stuff, before even getting to any kind of explanation of what it was. Deciding that was a bunch of horse hockey I fed it garbage info for all questions. Eventually I got through to some sort of support person by just pushing zero over and over at every request. They explained that this was a service to allow me to receive collect calls from certain jail facilities. In fact someone had been calling me from Travis County Correctional Facility in Del Valle. I checked out the website of this company while I had the guy on the phone and looked them up a little to make sure they weren't some kind of scam or illegal peeps. Sadly, they are not illegal, and they ARE a scam. I asked how much these calls cost, they said an average 15 minute call would cost about $17.30. !!!!!!!!!!!! They are the SOLE means for a prisoner in that facility(and it turns out thousands of facilities across the country) to call out and talk to anyone. What a racket. They will let you prepay to receive calls, but only in payments of a minimum of $50. I went ahead and set up an account because if there is someone trying to reach me that needs help or something, I want to be able to know about it, but have not received any calls since. It turns out there is no government body that has any oversight over the fees charged for these kinds of calls, so they charge as much as they want. It turns out that even worse, most states receive a huge commission, ranging from 25 to as much as 60% of the fees collected. Why can they get away with this? Because it only affects poor people and is tangentially related to people in jail. Who's going to defend them? If you spend any time googling this subject there arearticles about it all over the place. Virtually every state has deals with companies similar to this. Nice eh?

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