Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

Montana Awards New Prison Phone Contract

The State of Montana has contracted with Public Communications Services (PCS), Inc. to provide phone services to prisoners in the Department of Corrections, according to a January 3, 2006 press release.

PCS holds itself out as a bargain for both the DOC and prisoner families, providing modern call-monitoring equipment--calls will be recorded digitally and prison officials will have the option of blocking individual phone numbers--new phones, and rational calling rates.

Citing the high number of complaints under the previous plan, DOC contract manager Gary Willems said the new system provides a fairer and cheaper phone service for inmate families.

Prisoner families were being gouged under the old system, paying $31.54 for a 30 minute call to anywhere in the continental United States. PCS will reportedly charge $8.75 plus tax for the same call.

The rate is less than it was previously but still significantly higher than outside rates, providing a comfortable profit margin for the company and its prison clients at the expense of prisoners' families.

The release notes that PCS, which focuses on prisoner calling services exclusively, recently acquired all of Verizon's prison and jail accounts. It remains to be seen whether PCS's rates will remain rational if the company corners the market on prison phone services.

As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login