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More than $200K generated every year by outgoing calls at Ulster jail

Jun 18, 2018 5:15 am
Pat Doxsey is reporting in the Daily Freeman the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office took in, between 2014 and 2017, nearly $900,000 in commissions from Inmate Calling Solutions, LLC, the Texas-based company that provides secure telephone service at the jail, according to Finance Commissioner Burt Gulnick. The revenues are generated when those in custody place calls to anyone outside of the facility. Under the terms of the county’s agreement with Inmate Calling Solutions, the person in custody pays 22-cents per minute per phone call, but with the addition of various fees and local, county, state and federal taxes, the cost of a 10-minute telephone call can ultimately total more than $10. The county receives the 55 percent of the gross income generated by those calls with a guaranteed monthly minimum income to the jail of $13,500. Jail Warden Jon Becker said the revenue received is used to offset the jail budget. Becker said the department has used the funds to replace two Corrections Department vehicles, purchased new body armor, ammunition and badges, floor buffers and K-9 supplies, among other items. Less than $10,000 of the funds generated is spent on those in the county's custody. There is no restriction on how a jail spends commissions generated through telephone calls, according to the state Commission on Corrections. Advocates for the incarcerated are calling the cost of the calls exorbitant and argue the policy hits hardest the poorest, in some instances forcing them to choose between paying bills and staying in touch with a loved one. Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.
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