Prison life is hard for everyone and outside emotional support does a lot to help an inmate survive in prison. That’s why prison calls are very important to both the inmate and their families.
Inmates are allowed to call family and friends from the outside, though regulations vary per facility. But the question is, how do you call an inmate back? More importantly, can you call an inmate back? Technically, you can’t but some facilities may reconsider in emergency cases.
Prison Call Rules
Each facility is given autonomy on implementing its own inmate calling system. As a result, prison call rules vary for each facility. But some rules apply for most prisons.
For one, inmates cannot receive calls. They can only make outgoing ones. This means you can’t call an inmate back. You can only wait for them to call you. This rule applies to federal, state and county prisons.
In federal prisons, inmates only get 300 minutes of calls each month. This resets on a specific day and unused minutes are voided. Prisoners, however, can’t use all their minutes in one go. Each call is limited only up to 15 minutes. If they want to make another call, they’ll have to wait an hour after the start of the previous one.
You need to be careful what you say during calls too as all inmate calls are monitored except calls to lawyers. Even then, the prisoner has to secure the necessary permissions.
Most facilities also have exclusive contracts with private jail call providers. This is why prison call rates are typically more expensive than regular calls. In some facilities, a 15-minute jail call can cost up to $17 which is beyond affordable for most inmate families. JailAid was founded to combat this. Our mission is to help inmates and their families cope with incarceration. We offer extensive resources on how to make cheap jail calls and where to find prison support groups in your area. You can also make use of our inmate locator.
When Can You Call an Inmate?
Yes, you can’t call an inmate. But, in case of emergencies, some facilities may reconsider. It has to be a real emergency though like the inmate’s house burning or death in the immediate family. You can call the prison’s warden and ask if you can talk to the inmate. Be sure to make the request in a polite way. After all, they’re not obliged to pass on messages to inmates. They have all the right to deny you if they think you are being rude or that its not really an emergency.
What To Do When You Can’t Call an Inmate?
If you really want to talk to an inmate but they can’t or won’t call you, there’s always the jail mail. Some companies like GlobalTel offers cheap jail postcard services. You just have to go to their website and create a personalized letter or postcard. They will then print it and send it to the facility where the inmate is. Like jail calls, all prison mails are thoroughly inspected so you need to exercise caution too.