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Kentucky Jail Rents Texting Devices to Prisoners

by Scott Grammer

The Noble County jail in Albion, Kentucky has found a new way to make money – by renting texting devices to prisoners. For $4.00 a month plus $0.10 per text, prisoners can send and receive monitored messages. The $0.10 fee applies to incoming texts, too. Most people who are not incarcerated have unlimited texting as part of their cell phone plans, but prisoners constitute a literal captive market. 

In an April 2019 news report, Noble County Sheriff Max Weber said the devices can only be used to send and receive texts, which is called “chirping” by Combined Public Communications (CPC), the Kentucky company that provides the fee-based service. “It’s text only. It is a privilege for them to have that,” the sheriff stated. 

“[I]t generates more money for the county,” added Chief Deputy Brian Walker. “It allows them to communicate with their families. It may deter inmates from misbehaving.” 

CPC’s website allows prisoners’ friends and family members to purchase “talk time” for the texting devices. “For over 17 years, CPC has partnered with corrections professionals to provide inmate communication technologies that are reliable and cost effective,” the company states, noting that it provides services in over 150 facilities, including e-cigarettes, commissary services, tablets, phone systems and video calling, in addition to texting. 



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