Kiosk allows family members to prepay for inmate phone calls
SUMMERSIDE — It’s now a little easier for inmates at the Island’s provincial correctional facilities to call home.
© Nancy MacPhee/Journal Pioneer
The kiosk is up and running on the second floor of the Prince County Court House in Summerside.
A kiosk has been set up at the Prince County Court House in Summerside, which is in the same building as the Prince County Jail, that will allow family of inmates to prepay for their family member’s phone calls.
It’s a system, said Gordie Roche, put in place at no cost to taxpayers but will make it easier for families to stay in touch with their family member behind bars.
“It’s a mode where the family of our inmates can prepay on the phone system,” said Roche. “They put the necessary phone number in, etc., and it prompts them. It then discounts the phone costs for the inmates since it is prepaid.”
The kiosk is one of two located in Island jails. The second is at the Provincial Correctional Facility in Sleepy Hollow.
They are available through the correctional facilities’ phone service provider, Synergy, a relatively new company to the province.
“It’s part of what Synergy… has offered. It’s offered so that, with the prepayment, it gives the inmates a much better rate,” said Roche. “(The cost) would be covered by Synergy. It is their system. It would be part of the package they’re providing, the inmate phone system.”
In fact, he added, the Island’s correctional facilities are the first in the region to have the system in place. The service, which has only been in place a couple of weeks, is currently up and running but hasn’t been used much to date.
“They have been using it with success,” said Roche. “They’re also in Saskatchewan and Alberta.”
The system in place prior to the kiosks saw inmates having to bill their loved one for calls made to that particular number, explained Roche.
“It would be billed to the receiving number. There would be a connection fee and, if long distance charges, a fee would be applied on top of that,” he added. “They use a credit card or a debit card and pay on the inmate’s phone account.”
Inmates still can call and have the connection fee billed to their account.
“Where now it is a discounted rate, it’s more convenient, more cost conscious for the inmate’s family.”
When asked why such a system for inmates, who, while behind bars, have restricted rights and privileges, such a system is in place, Roche said: “It’s the family members of the inmates that are billed for the phone calls, so it essentially makes it more economical. It just makes it easier on the families.”