RICHMOND — Communication between incarcerated offenders and their families and friends is an important step in the reentry process. To that end, the Virginia Department of Corrections has worked diligently over the last five years to drastically reduce the cost of offenders’ phone calls.
Regrettably, information contained in a Thursday news release from the Federal Communications Commission concerning Virginia created confusion for offenders and families regarding what they are being charged for phone service.
Phone rates for Virginia offenders are as follows:
- A local collect call is $1.00 for 20 minutes, while a local prepaid/debit call is $0.90 for 20 minutes
- 86% of all calls made from Virginia Department of Corrections facilities are local calls that fall under the self-imposed rate caps above
- The average cost per call for inmates in VADOC facilities is $1.48 – with an average cost of $0.0871/minute
Global Tel*Link (GTL) handles offender phone calls for the Virginia Department of Corrections. Over the last five years, Virginia has been at the forefront of efforts to bring affordable phone service to incarcerated offenders, working with GTL to rein in the average cost of phone calls from Virginia state correctional facilities.
In 2010, the average cost of a phone call from a Virginia facility was $4.06; today, the average has fallen to $1.48 (with an average cost of $0.0871/minute). Under the FCC’s proposed rules announced yesterday, the average cost per call could be allowed to go up.
The VADOC will continue to make every effort to keep phone service affordable for offenders and their loved ones. The Department of Corrections does not receive any commissions from offender phone calls.
More information on the VADOC can be found at www.vadoc.virginia.gov.