Avoid Making Expensive Collect Calls From Prison
By keeping informed and doing abit of research on different inmate telephone systems, you can easily save money and get around restrictions on phone calls from prison.
The first step is to get to know the local inmate telephone system in place at your particular correctional facility. Each system has different features and restrictions that you should be familiar with (call recording, call blocking, three-way call detection, etc).
You can either look up the facility on the internet or in the phone book and contact them, or visit the prison to see which systems they are using which is usually indicated on the phone hardware. Be sure to learn the standard procedures in place for making phone calls. Do some research to see the available features and what restrictions are in place and experiment with the phone system to see what you can or can not do.
Once you’ve done your research and you have more information on how your facility works and the inmate telephone system that is in place, you can work out the most affordable way to make calls from jail.
How to make affordable calls from your inmate telephone system?
The most widely-used calling options for making inmate phone calls are:
- Inmate telephone system specific phone cards
- Local and international collect calling
- Standard phone cards (Uncommon)
While these options allow inmates to make most outgoing calls, there are often restrictions on which calls can be made. For example, calls to cell and toll free phone numbers are usually blocked and costs can be high.
It is possible to get around some restrictions and to reduce the cost of using these services however; be aware, some of the tricks may be against prison rules. If you are unsure, you can ask but be aware that they will always want to charge you the most possible.
Some options to reduce inmate phone system costs are:
- Call forwarding on local numbers to national and international numbers
- Conference call numbers
- Calling cards with local access numbers
Call forwarding from local numbers
Call forwarding with local numbers is a simple procedure that allows inmates to contact otherwise restricted numbers. It also allows you to save long distance charges when an inmate wishes to call out of state. For example, an inmate in Texas may want to contact an person in Washington. An inmate or family member would setup a local phone number in Texas that forwards to a number in Washington. The inmate calls the local Texas numbers and is connected to the party in Washington.
Services like Phone Power Broadvoice allow you to get a phone number in any city and automatically redirect incoming calls to another local, national or international number. It also allows you to save money on your home phone service and have multiple “virtual numbers” to the same phone.
With Phone Power Broadvoice, an inmate calls a phone number local to the jail and this number is transparently forwarded anywhere in the world. This service is highly recommended and you can even test it out for free.
Skype offers a similar option, allowing you to set up a local Skype number that can forward your calls to a Skype account on your computer or mobile phone anywhere in the world. In order to benefit from this service and set up your own local Skype number but be aware Skype has been involved in government spying and often has poor sound quality. Visit: http://www.skype.com
Another great service with call forwarding is TextNow. TextNow installs on cellular phones and is free. Visit: https://www.textnow.com
Conference Call Numbers
Conference call numbers allow inmates to contact more than one person at a time on one phone call. The caller can speak to anyone who dials into the conversation via a conference number. Also known as a three-way call, this option is often not allowed by correctional facilities, but there are ways to avoid these restrictions such as custom local numbers.
Again, we recommend Phone Power, which not only saves you 60-70% on your phone bill using your internet connect, but has a 3 way calling feature and virtual phone number support.
Phone cards are a popular and inexpensive way to make calls from prison, but standard cards can often be prohibited. Phone cards allow a prisoner to dial a phone card provider and make outgoing calls from the provider. It is possible to setup a local number call forwarding to a phone card provider which would allow the inmate to make outgoing calls avoiding restrictions and saving money.
Spoof Cards are yet another option, but considering the call features available, they are most likely prohibited in any correctional facility. With a Spoof Card you can obtain a fake caller ID, record phone calls or even change the sound of your voice.
We have heard stories of people successfully setting up Phone Power Broadvoice into SpoofCard to allow inmates to change their voice and fake their caller ID, however; this is often against the rules of the prison, so be sure to ask if you are unsure. 🙂
Learn more about Inmate Telephone Providers, Inmate Telephone Service or Contact Us.
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