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Prison Phone Policy, MN DOC, 2008

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Minnesota Department of Corrections
Division Directive:
Issue Date:
Effective Date:



Minn. Stat. §241.01, subd. 3a.


Title: Offender Telephone Use

To provide for offender access to telephones.

APPLICABILITY: All facilities
Each facility will provide offenders with the privilege of
reasonable and equitable access to telephones to communicate with persons outside the
facility. The warden/superintendent or designee may review telephone misconduct and
suspend offender telephone use indefinitely. Telephones designated for offender use are
record-capable. Offenders will be advised that telephone monitoring may occur at any
time. Approved attorney calls will not be monitored. Any proceeds from offender
telephone use are to be used for the welfare of all offenders. Adult facilities may develop
instructions to address offender attorney calls. Juvenile facilities will develop
instructions to allow additional telephone access for juvenile offenders.
Immediate family member - the offender’s legal spouse, children (birth, step and
adopted), parents and siblings (birth, step, adopted and half).
Attorney calls - offender calls to verified attorneys.
Telephone monitoring - the electronic tracking, recording, and listening to of offender
telephone calls and conversations.
Third party calls – calls involving an additional party at a different number.
Forwarded call – call forwarded to a number not initially called.
General Access to Telephones
At intake, offenders will be provided with written notification of
communication monitoring. Facilities will also have notification posted
by each offender telephone.

Offenders may be assigned a personal identification number (PIN).



The security of the PIN is the responsibility of the offender to
whom it is issued.


The facility is not responsible for theft, loss or costs related to an
offender lending his/her PIN or failing to provide for its


The facility will not provide offenders with call lists regarding
their phone call records.


PINs may be changed and a new PIN issued at the offender’s


Only the offender whose PIN has been used to place the phone call
is allowed to participate in that call.


Telephones for offender use may be located in each living unit and may be
available in work/recreational areas. Offenders may not receive incoming
calls on these telephones.


The facility will not accept collect calls for offenders.


Rules governing telephone usage (call duration, sign-up procedures, hours
and special unit regulations) will be developed and made available to
offenders. Access to telephones may vary from unit to unit according to
programming. Facilities must have a security instruction in place to
prevent an offender from obtaining an unauthorized outside line from
facility (staff or offender) phones.


Telephone time may be purchased through the canteen. Any unused
telephone time will be refunded on the offender’s release or transfer to a
non-department facility.


Offender PIN numbers and any money on the offender's phone account
will transfer with the offender to other department facilities.


Offender telephone calls are a maximum of 15 minutes in duration for
each connection.


Calls to cellular telephones are not guaranteed for quality or connectivity.

Special Access to Telephones
Work: Offenders with job assignments requiring telephone use will be
monitored and directly supervised by staff as designated by the
warden/superintendent or designee.


Emergency: Emergency messages will be verified prior to offender
notification. Special telephone calls by the offender may be approved
following authorization by designated staff.


Telephone calls to offenders in other facilities: Offenders may request
permission to make calls to immediate family members incarcerated in other
facilities if warranted by special circumstances (i.e., a verifiable family
emergency involving the hospitalization, serious injury, or death of an
immediate family member). The offender’s case manager or on-duty
supervisor will arrange and monitor these calls; approval is required from
the facility wardens/superintendents or designees.


Attorney calls: When legal business cannot be accomplished by U.S. mail,
an offender may request an approved telephone contact with an attorney.
Attorney calls are limited to current active cases and the offender
must provide written proof of an impending court deadline that
cannot be addressed by using U.S. Mail. Proof may include a
request from the offender's attorney by phone or letter to facility




Designated staff will review the request and authorize/deny the
call. Staff will place the call and verify that the requested party is
available and willing to accept the call. Telephones for approved
attorney calls will not be subject to any monitoring activity and the
facility will not charge offenders for approved attorney calls.


Attorney calls are limited to 15 minutes' duration and the primary
purpose should be to arrange for a personal visit by the attorney to
discuss the legal issues prompting the call.


Calls to the clerk of court, county or city law enforcement or other
entities that are not attorneys are not considered attorney calls.

TTY or TTD calls: Hearing impaired offenders or offenders calling
hearing impaired individuals may use the TTY/TTD machines provided
by the facility or utilize the statewide 800 number for the service. Phones
with volume control are also available to hearing impaired offenders.
Offenders will be charged for TTY/TTD assisted telephone calls at the
same rate as non-TTY/TTD telephones. Staff will provide assistance with
placing such calls as needed. Staff may monitor TTY/TTD calls.
Approved legal calls will not be monitored.

Telephone Conduct
Telephones will not be used for harassing, threatening, obscene calls,
criminal activity, or in violation of facility rules or department policy.



Abuse of telephone privileges may result in informal sanctions, formal
discipline, and/or indefinite suspension of offender telephone use.


Offenders are prohibited from contacting staff, volunteers, interns or
venders under contract with the department by phone.


An offender may contact a volunteer who has been identified to assist with
his/her transition into the community. The warden/superintendent or
designee must authorize this communication.


Offenders are prohibited from making third party calls or making
forwarded calls. The telephone system detects for three way calls when
there is a similar electronic condition to a three-way call on the line.
Office of Special Investigations (OSI) staff may ban a number if an
investigation leads OSI to believe the number was contacted to make a
third party or forwarded call.


Offenders must only use the PIN assigned to them.


Offenders may not place phone calls that are in violation of a direct order
issued on the written request of a person, or parent/guardian of a minor or
legally incompetent person stating he/she does not want to receive calls
from the offender. Staff will document the direct order (attached) in the
no-contact tab in Correctional Operations Management System (COMS)
and provide a copy to the offender.

Telephone Violations
Staff will document telephone use violations utilizing facility’s informal
or formal sanction procedures.
1st Violation: Verbal warning to cease violations.
2nd Violation: Suspension of phone privileges for up to 7 days, providing
no similar violations within the past 90 days.
3rd Violation: Suspension of phone privileges for up to 30 days, providing
no similar violations within the past 90 days..
4th Violation: Formal discipline.

Staff may use their discretion to deviate from the violation progression
when deemed appropriate.


OSI staff may block a number during the first violation of third party calls
or making forwarded calls. OSI staff will give written notification of the
number being blocked to the offender via the Offender Telephone Blocked
Number form (attached). OSI will also inform the facility
warden/designee of the ban.


Suspension of Offender Telephone Use
Offenders who violate facility rules or policy while using the phone or
unauthorized communication devices may receive formal discipline
through the Discipline Unit. In addition, suspension of phone privileges
may be imposed utilizing the following guidelines.
Minor policy infractions - suspension of phone privileges for a
minimum of three months.

Major policy infractions with criminal potential or serious
disciplinary violations-suspension of phone privileges for a
minimum of one year.


The Suspension of Telephone Privileges form and any supporting
documentation must be forwarded to the associate warden of
operations/superintendent or designee for final determination.


Upon the associate warden of operation’s/superintendent’s or designee
determination, the form and supporting documentation must be forwarded
to financial services for distribution as indicated on the form.


The associate warden of operations/superintendent or designee will review
appeals or staff recommendations to determine if the offender’s phone
privileges may be reinstated.


An offender wishing to appeal his/her suspension of telephone privileges
must utilize the grievance procedure outlined in Policy 303.100,
“Grievance Procedure.”


An offender wishing to appeal his/her banned number(s) must contact the
OSI investigator in writing.




ACA Standards 4-4497, 4-4271, 4-4272, 4-4274, 4-4275, 1-ABC5D-11, 1-ABC-3D-01, 1-ABC-3D-02, 3-JTS-5H-11, and 2-CO5D-01.
Division Directive 303.040, “Use of Electronic Equipment by
Policy 303.100, “Grievance Procedure.”


Division Directive 203.210, “Offender Telephone Use,” 6/3/08.
All facility policies, memos, or other communications whether
verbal, written, or transmitted by electronic means regarding this

ATTACHMENTS: Offender Telephone Use Indefinite Suspension Form

Offender Telephone Use Blocked Number Form
Direct Order to Cease Communication Form

David R. Crist, Assistant Commissioner
Facility Services

302.210FRB, “Offender Telephone Use”
302.210LL, “Legal Calls”
302.210OPH, “Legal Calls”
302.210-1OPH, “Offender Telephone Use”
302.210RC, “Legal Calls”
302.210RW, “Offender Telephone Use”
302.210STW, “Offender Telephone Use”
302.210WRML, “Offender Telephone Use”

Security Instructions
302.210SHK, “Offender Telephone Use”