Inmates incarcerated within the Federal Bureau of Prisons have access to a monitored telephone system that permits them to call approved contacts. Telephones are available in inmate housing units. Each month prisoners are allowed to place up to 300 minutes of telephone calls.

While the Warden is permitted to authorize additional minutes if a family emergency is present, they rarely do so. The Warden often authorizes an additional 100 minutes to promote family contact in the November and December months.

Each phone call placed can either be debit or collect. Debit calls are paid for by the prisoner through their trust fund account, while the recipient pays for collect calls. Generally speaking, debit calls are much less expensive than collect calls. While telephone calls are limited to 15 minutes, prisoners must wait one hour from the start of a previous call to place another.

Inmates are only permitted to call approved numbers. To gain approval, all a prisoner has to do is add the contact, along with telephone number, into their TRULINCS contact list. After approximately 15 minutes, the new telephone number will be approved by the system, and they can then call the number.

Prisoners and their community contacts should know that all telephone calls are subject to monitoring and are recorded. As such, any discussions of rule infractions and uncharged illegal activities should be avoided.

Local calls are $0.06 per minute, long-distance calls are $0.21 per minute, calls to Canada are $0.35 per minute, calls to Mexico are $0.55 per minute, and international calls are $0.99 per minute. Collect call connection fees range from $0.06 to $0.38 per minute for local calls and $0.56 per minute for long-distance collect calls.

Prisoners can call cell phones unless the cell phone provider doesn’t permit collect calls. All cell phones allow debit calls since the cost of the call is paid by the prisoner calling, not the call recipient.

While some prisoners and their families use call forwarding services such as Google Voice to reduce costs, it is generally a bad idea because the Federal Bureau of Prisons views this as masking a phone number or otherwise forwarding a call to an unauthorized number.

It would be better to ask your phone provider to assign a new line with a number local to the prison. Alternatively, you can spend an extra $50 per month and pay the long-distance rate. This will avoid the risk of receiving a code 297 incident report, which will most likely result in the telephone restriction for several months.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons prohibits three-way calling. This is deemed call forwarding or otherwise allowing unauthorized contacts to have access to the phone call. But, if a single number is called (for example, your house number), multiple extensions can be picked up so that your loved one can speak to numerous people at the house.

Prisoners receive 300 phone minutes on their Revalidation Date. This is a specific day of each month when the phone minutes and commissary spending limit reset. All unused minutes are voided and replaced by the new 300-minute allotment.

Telephone privileges can be restricted, suspended, or terminated. Prisoners who engage in misconduct can be sanctioned to loss of telephone for a specific duration of time. The amount of time depends on the severity of the offense and the resulting sanctions applied by the Unit Discipline Committee or Disciplinary Hearing Officer. If the prisoner engages in serious telephone abuse (e.g., criminal activity, threatening people, etc.), phone access can be permanently terminated.

Federal prisoners can not have cell phones or receive inbound calls. Only outbound calls are permitted. As for cell phones, while some prisoners do get their hands on them, this is often a terrible idea because when they are found, SIS staffers run a number search to see the called numbers. Then they run the numbers through their computers to identify which prisoners used the cell phone. This results in the prisoners becoming the subject of internal security investigations. All in all, a bad idea.

Contact us for more information on placing telephone calls from prison.