Why can't a phone enabled with VOIP service be provided? Broadband/DSL should be available nearly universally by now, via cable. The phone is as secure as the duty officers', and gives good free long distance service. The cost of the service is surprisingly inexpensive, too. The liability is no more than the liability of the duty officer's own phone, since you can attach an extension to his in his office, and he can monitor the call as they are required to do in many states.
My original post is here.
Those rates do sound high, but that is comparing the rates to a regular long distance call from home. What is not being taken into consideration is the liability of having phones in jails, costs of frequently replacing phones and cost of recording equipment since many inmates are still attempting to commit crimes while incarcerated. Additional costs include the billing and collecting of collect calls...local phone companies are charging up to $1 per call just to put that call on the phone bill. The insurance costs to maintain a phone system in a jail can be upwards of $10,000 per year for liability. The Inmates Rights Groups should really consider investing in this equipment and maintaining it for the jails and the inmates at no cost. This cost should not be borne by the taxpayers, but by the organizations that want the inmate to have free or low-cost phone calls.