Discontinue the post-paid phone requirement to receive calls from a TDCJ facility

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It has been brought to the attention of our organization that TDCJ's phone policy is not the standard phone policy, as adopted by the other states’ criminal justice departments.

Requiring the offenders loved ones to obtain a post-paid cell phone service is listed as a security policy however no other state mandates the type of billing the offenders loved ones must possess in order to receive calls from a correctional facility. This policy appears to be a policy that caters to those with family members who have exceptional credit and/or financial means. How is it a security risk for a grandparent, who may only possess a cell phone through a government funded program, and be on a limited income, to receive calls from an offender?

The families are already placed under a financial stress due to having a loved one incarcerated. If they are willing to comply with the policy to have a name and address verification process, adhere to the policies and procedures regarding calls, and pay the rate of .26 cents per minute, I don’t see how the form of billing would jeopardize the security of these facilities.

We are asking that a change in policy is initiated to eliminate some of the financial strain on the offenders’ families. Phone calls are vital for offenders to be able to remain in contact with their loved ones during their incarceration. They impact not only the offenders, but the families as well. Research has demonstrated that regular communication between offenders and their loved ones stabilizes their support system and assists in reducing recidivism and promoting successful re-entry. Therefore, making our communities safer. 



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