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NV Phone Rate Scalping Examined

In response to complaints from prisoners, family members and prison activists, the Nevada Public Service Commission (PSC) began work in December on a plan to regulate phone systems at jails and prisons. PSC Commissioner, Galen Denio, said he has to review testimony and documents from telephone companies and prison officials before deciding what action will be taken.

A proposed plan calls for caps on telephone rates charged to those who use phones in Nevada jails and prisons. Under the proposal, companies providing those phone services could charge no more than the highest rate of any long-distance company operating in the state. Operator surcharges on local calls would also be capped.

Though this may hardly sound like a good deal for prisonersCwho could still be charged the highest rates of any phone customers in the stateCit should provide considerable relief from the rate scalping that has been perpetrated on this Acaptive market.  Mark Collins of Mound House, who is a former sheriff's deputy, said he was recently billed $87 for a month's worth of calls to a friend in jail. He said the Nevada Bell rate for the same calls would have been $29. Collins said the same prisoner's wife was billed for $537 for calls from her husband over the same period, calls that would have been billed at the Nevada Bell rate of $179.

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