Exorbitant Phone Fees for the Families of Prisoners

Research confirms that when prisoners keep in touch with their families, they are less likely to commit new criminal offenses. This is particularly useful information for Nebraska, where nearly 41,000 children — one in 10 — have a parent who is incarcerated or has been in jail or prison. Unfortunately, county jails charge exorbitant fees for inmate phone calls, and this burden often falls upon the prisoners’ families who already struggle financially. Addressing this issue, the state Department of Corrections provided a model for reasonable call costs, capping 15-minute phone calls at $1.50, instead of the egregious $0.99/minute rate we see in Saline County for example. I plan to introduce legislation in January to cap county jail call costs in a similar manner. Let’s remove these outrageous fees on poor families and rehabilitate prisoners, rather than recycle them back into the system. Everybody wins when they become a positive force in our community. Everybody wins when we grow together.

To read more about this issue, check out this article Lincoln Journal Star recently published: http://journalstar.com/legislature/study-nebraska-s-county-jails-profiting-from-prisoner-phone-calls/article_7b275053-2540-5dc2-9c54-f2c763ddfadb.html

 GWYNETH ROBERTS, Journal Star file photo

GWYNETH ROBERTS, Journal Star file photo