Talk Is Not Cheap: Inside the Shadowy Business of Prison Pay Phones
… the fees seem unusually hefty; some sheriffs may collect up to 90 percent of the call revenue, which can amount to millions of dollars a year. And there’s little oversight once the money is in the bank. “Every single filing I’ve ever seen from the sheriffs is about the money,” says Wright. “They aren’t giving a rat’s ass about safety.”
In the past year, more than 200 sheriffs have filed letters to the FCC, threatening to rip the phones from the wall if the government takes away their commissions. “They don’t have to provide a call service,” says Jonathan Thompson, executive director of the National Sheriffs’ Association.
Jonathan Thompson certainly isn’t looking to endear himself to the public, is he? Perhaps his bravado arises from having so many friends: here’s who his silver, gold and platinum ones are.
According to their FAQ, the National Sheriffs’ Association is a non-profit organization. That means they pay no taxes on their incomes, which means that taxing authorities recognize them as being of benefit to society.
But there is no benefit to society in increasing unrest within jails and prisons that leads to violence that endangers inmates and officers alike while expensively extending sentences, and there is no benefit to society in expensively increasing recidivism by permanently damaging family ties by cutting inmates off from their families when they need them the most … two predictable, detrimental outcomes of holding inmates incommunicado by making phone services too expensive to utilize.
Or by ripping the phones off the wall.
Being detrimental to society isn’t tax deductible, and tax exemptions can be revoked retroactively. Please remind Jonathan Thompson of the National Sheriffs’ Association of this by sharing this post. Thank you.
[Update 8/13/15: Please sign and share this petition to fight back against gouging inmates and their families for phone services. Thank you. http://act.colorofchange.org/sign/endprisonphonerates/?t=2&akid=4687.954156.jB5mfF%5D