How Companies Gouge Prison Inmates
Firms line up to be banks, telecom companies for the incarcerated
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Jun 27, 2014 1:55 PM CDT

(Newser) – There are many reasons that it sucks to be in prison, but one of them is that it can cost more than eight bucks to make a 15-minute phone call—and private companies are collecting that dough. The New York Times today takes a look at how a new breed of company, fueled by private equity, cashes in on the incarcerated by becoming their de facto banks and telecom providers. And because inmates aren't protected by regulations of any kind, the companies are free to gouge them.

Putting $25 in an inmate's commissary account at one Nashville prison, for example, costs $6.90. In response to uproar, the FCC recently capped interstate calls at 25 cents a minute, but making a 15-minute in-state call at one New Jersey jail costs $8.50. Each email sent outside the prison at one Washington facility costs 33 cents. States don't mind the gouging, because they get an ever-increasing cut on the profits, which, the companies say, drives up prices even more. "It is clear that it drives up the prices," JPay's CEO says. "The commission system should be modified." Click for the full story.

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Jun 28, 2014 9:46 AM CDT
Most of the inmates gouged the public so it's fitting they get a taste of it in prison
Jun 28, 2014 7:44 AM CDT
And how do inmates gouge taxpayers at $40k annual cost with free room and board? How did inmates gouge (literally and figuratively) their victims to land in jail. And th btchng about paying $.75 for a can of Coke and it is being reported as a story like people should give a shit and be ashamed? Sell it to Bill Maher. He will rant a big outrage to all his dipshit followers and they will wire money to their prison bank accounts.
Jun 27, 2014 8:54 PM CDT
The not so big and not so secret big secret is that so much of our prison system is driven by cold capitalism. If we really caught up with the rest of the world and had a more "liberal" ( yeah I said it ) ideology when it comes to crime and incarceration we'd have significant more advancement as a culture.