SAY WHAT? Inmates Are VICTIMS Of “Predatory” Phone Rates?

Posted on May 19, 2012


United States (The Gaslamp Post) – Queue the sad violin music, America; the bleeding hearts are at it again.  Apparently, a “bipartisan” group of reformers have taken aim at a certain kind of treatment of criminals that have become imprisoned, that they feel is unfair.

So what’s got these guys panties in a bunch?  Phone rates…

Yes, apparently the rates that some incarcerated criminals must pay, for the privilege of calling out, is just too darn expensive.  Nevermind that they are fed, housed, get free medical care, and cable tv; these phone rates that they are subjected to is just cruel and unusual.  Apparently they forgot about the people to whom they had done ill, which warranted their particular predicament.

So just how predatory are these rates?  According to the very lovely Liz Goodman, the phone company will charge an inmate as much as $17 for a 15 minute phone call.  It is not known exactly which phone companies are responsible for these charges.

Alright, so let’s say that this could be considered unfair; there has got to be a reason why.  It would be too easy to just say that the phone company is greedy, right?  What are we, socialists?

Let’s take a look at WHY this is so…

According to Yahoo! blog, The Lookout, when a phone company wins a contract with a particular state, they are required to pay a “commission” to the state for the privilege of being the “exclusive” phone service provider for the prisons.  Yes, you read that correctly, when you win a state contract you must pay back some of your profits to the state for the privilege of obtaining that contract.

What’s the difference between commission and kickback, aside from the spelling?  Another stupid question: what’s the difference between contract and bribery?

What ever happened to, the lowest bidder gets the contract?

Well this commission eats away at the revenue collected by the phone company, so they do what every other company on the face of the planet does to their customers.  They pass along the cost of their good or service, and the consumer’s price goes up.

We’re all paying for millions of welfare cellphones and internet, why should convicted criminals be let off the hook?

According to David Keene, former head of the American Conservative Union, “(It) is a tax on the poorest people in our society.  It makes no sense to cut off or make impossible their communication with their families.”  The phone fees, which can easily add up to $250 a month, are levied on the poor families of the inmates, who can barely afford the fees as it is.  Wait, a CONSERVATIVE said this?

Prisoners and their families, along with this group of bipartisan reformers, have been petitioning the FCC to have the rates lowered to around $.25 per minute.  Leading the charge, which should come as no surprise, is former California Assemblyman, Pat Nolan.  Nolan pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering in the mid 1990’s and served 29 months in prison.  He claimed to be an upstanding citizen prior to this, mind you.  But then again, aren’t prisons and jails full of innocent people?

Since, he’s been advocating for better inmate treatment, and this is one of his babies.

Apparently not only are we supposed to toss the old phrase, “don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time,” out the window, but now they want the government to tell a producer how much they can charge for their good or service.  Damn what it costs the producer!

That’s socialism, ladies and gentlemen.  And where you find socialism, her big, ugly sister, isn’t too far behind.  Communism is just a short step ahead.

Blame the phone company all you want, but the answer to this is so close to the front of our faces, if it were a snake, it would have bitten us.  First of all, people go to jail or prison because they broke the law.  Second, the cost to any business is passed along to their customers, this isn’t greedy, this is logical.  That is how business works.

If a business couldn’t remain profitable, it would go out of business, unless they got a government bailout – then we have another problem, would we not?

Third, this is a contracted exchange.  A group of providers got together with a group of bureaucrats and once the right palms were greased, the highest payer to the crooked son’s of bitches got the contract!

HELLO!  That’s called cronyism, and that is not how capitalism works, that’s how socialism takes root!  Don’t blame the phone company for trying to keep their people employed, blame the crooked punks we voted for.  This is how the kommissars of the former Soviet Union operated (now how the green energy crowd gets paid).

You know, there was a time that I wanted to be a politician.  True story.  But they told me I couldn’t because my parents were married.

(h/t:  Liz Goodwin)