Texas prison system reduces cost of phone calls by 77 percent

During the summer of 2018, the Texas Board of Criminal Justice voted to reduce the price of phone calls made from Texas prisons. Previously, incarcerated people paid an average of $0.26 per minute to call their loved ones; now the rate is $0.06 per minute, and the time limit for calls was increased from 20 to 30 minutes.

This decision comes in the wake of a federal court’s 2017 ruling overturning an Obama-era Federal Communications Commission rule that created a rate cap of $0.11 per minute for phone calls made from prisons. Earlier in the summer, Texas Representative James White wrote a letter to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice that called for affordable call prices and an end to Texas’ financial gain from incarcerated people.

A well-negotiated contract may result in lower costs, which may have the impact of increasing call volume and revenue: Lower call cost, more positive familial connectivity, better rehabilitation, lower recidivism, more local community safety and prosperity. -Rep. James White

You can read a TDCJ press release about the rate reduction here, as well as a Houston Chronicle article on the subject.

Texas Board of Criminal Justice