The prison phone system is no more or less broken than the prison system itself, which has, at its core, the task of keeping taxpayers willing to shell out their money for bloated and poorly trained “Law Enforcement” organizations which closely resemble the Barney Fife Fan Club, and for political parties which are willing - nay, eager - to extract exorbitent phone call prices from those least able to pay.
I have written extensively about the high costs of doing business in prisons, where I used to work for a subsidiary of Global Tel Link. It's obvious, however, that the costs aren’t high enough to disuade those whom feel compelled to accept $3.00-per-minute collect phone calls, and therefore to help our political leaders avoid the reductions in recidivism which follow improved communications between inmates and their relatives and sweathearts.
Make no mistake: there are more hidden agendas here than we could find in a Defense Department budget:
- Lower recidivim means less crime, and therefore (Heaven Forfend!) lower insurance rates for all the might-have-been victims of crimes that will never be committed.
- Lower crime rates mean more low-income agitators able to gather support for reforms by going door-to-door at night in what used to be “Hight-Crime” areas, and in so doing to create ornery, impolite, and motivated voters whom tend to ask rude and embarassing questions of candidates for public office.
- Lower crime rates mean fewer sinecure jobs for the brothers-in-law, uncles, sons, and lovers of politicians at every level of the state government: prison guards, police, courts, etc., ad nauseam.
If we want to reform prison phone systems, let's first reform the society that made them necessary. That's probably an easier task.