ShaneDog wrote:No, its just like a regular phone except that the caller needs to have their phone hooked up to the VOIP interface box which needs to be connected to a broadband internet connection. The caller can then call anyone anywhere in the united states (probably only continental US though) as many times as they want for as long as they want for the monthly fee (usually $20-$30 per line). Hell, I'd be willing to bet you could find local human services organizations that would be willing to fund it which would make it essentially free to the county.
Human service providers are a little tight on funds themselves per the current county budget. This sounds like a great idea, though, that would cost the county very little in the scheme of things. However, who would donate the $1.2 million that the county steals from inmates and their families under the current system?
The ideas you posted earlier about using email and IM sound good, too, but you have to remember that many of the calls made by inmates are to their young children who may not yet be able to read. For those able to read, a computer message will never be the same as hearing mom or dad's voice on the phone.
Regarding the phone card proposal in general, remember that Wiganowski was the same sup who railed on the mother featured in a newspaper article because she had children who are incarcerated. Of course, he doesn't see the need to give the phone cards to inmates. Obviously, he and his family and friends have never made mistakes or bad choices. I wonder how he would feel if he couldn't talk to his child or his mother because he couldn't afford to accept a collect call.
We need to remember that the federal government has a responsibility to provide for the troops. My understanding is that phone service is available to them. I'm all for supporting the troops but not at the expense of the neediest individuals and families. In an earlier post, Andy Olsen pointed out that the funding for the phone cards is a set aside from the money made on the outrageous jail phone contract. So now I suppose that inmates and their families should fund phone calls for the troops? Of course, when the county board passed the current phone contract, they proved that they don't mind funding services by taking from the poor. I hope they react differently in light of this proposal and keep the phone cards where they belong.