Why are Jail Calls So Expensive in the US?

Published July 23rd, 2019

It’s a well-known fact that the cost of jail calls in the US is like daylight robbery. The injustice of it all is so blatantly obvious. Yet jail call companies are still getting away with charging exorbitant prices.

In this post, we’ll explain why it is so and how you can save on your jail calls.

Cost Of Jail Calls In The US

According to the Federal Communications Commission, inmates pay up to $17 for a 15-minute call. This means that a 30-minute once a week call to prison would cost you up to $136. That’s almost half your monthly car payment.

Some families, especially those living off on a social security check, can never afford such luxury. At times, it’s a tough choice between putting food on the table or calling their loved ones.

This is the reality for most inmate families. A 2014 report shows that inmates’ annual income average only $19,185. That’s 41% lower than non-incarcerated people of the same age. Safe to say, the ultimate victim of this unreasonable cost for jail calls are those from the most vulnerable sectors of society.

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The Jail Call Conspiracy

What most people don’t know is that most of the time, jail officials and jail call companies are in cahoots with each other.

Since the ’90s, prison facilities in the US enter into contracts with private jail call providers. The contract grants them exclusive rights to provide prison call services to inmates. For a commission, of course. So naturally, the contracts are awarded to those who can give the biggest commission.

These commissions are in turn passed on to the inmates by way of expensive jail calls. There have been legal petitions in the past years to reform the prison call system in the country. So far, very few states have successfully reduced their jail calls cost.

How To Save Money On Jail Calls

With jail calls as expensive as they are, family relationships are often sacrificed.

Fortunately, GlobalTel found a way around this. It aims to provide inmates and their families with a way to make cheap jail calls. When you sign up with GlobalTel, we will give you a specific jail phone number that the inmate can call from jail. Remember that inmates can’t receive calls, only make ones.

So when inmates dial the GlobalTel phone number, the call will be billed like a normal local call. That’s about ten times cheaper than the usual prison call charges.

GlobalTel also provides cheap jail mail postcard services for only $0.52. Just log-on to our website, create a personalized postcard and we’ll print and ship it to the inmate for you.


GlobalTel’s inmate calling service lowers jail call rates by 90% for jail calls to US facilities. Sign up for our service to eliminate the long distance jail call fees for $45.99 for 90 days. Make US/domestic and international jail calls at the local rate and stay connected to your incarcerated loved ones for less. Learn more about how to sign up for calls from inmates on our website.

Judy Ponio an author for GlobalTel


Judy Ponio is a firm believer in the power of sharing knowledge. Having extensive experience in the prison industry, she wants to share what she knows with the world. Judy also loves to write about political and legal topics.