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Inmate Phones

Inmate Telephone Access

Common Questions and Answers about Inmate Telephones

Ongoing contact with supportive family and friends is an important part of inmates’ success in prison and upon release. The New Hampshire Department of Corrections (NHDOC) is committed to providing the best possible inmate telephone service at the most reasonable cost per call. This includes information about the inmate telephone system, answers common questions and offers solutions to common problems.

The system used within DOC facilities is Inmate Communication System, Inc. (ICS). The system offers two types of calling programs: Advance Pay (prepaid) and collect.

What drives the cost of inmate calls?
How does an inmate get access to telephones while in prison?
What type of calls are inmates allowed/not allowed to make?
How do I know if an inmate is calling me?
Why can’t I receive inmate calls?
Who pays for the calls?
What if I don't want an inmate to call me?
Are inmate phone calls monitored?
Can inmates receive incoming calls?
How much will the inmate call cost?
What features on a phone might prevent receipt or disconnect a call?
The Department prohibits 3-Way calling. What methods are used to do so?
How can a call be more cost efficient?
How does Prepaid calling work?
I have an overdue, outstanding phone bill. Can I receive calls from an inmate?
How do I prepay for phone calls?
I am prevented from receiving calls from an inmate until my new area code/prefix is programmed into the telephone system. How do I fix it?
My phone company said there were no blocks on my phone. Is the NH Department of Corrections blocking me?
Why are my calls cut off prior to the time limitations set by the NH Department of Corrections?
How can I block my phone number from correctional facilities?

What drives the cost of inmate calls?

The NH Department of Administrative Services oversees all state telecommunication contracts. The NH Department of Corrections provides input regarding the security features that are required of phone systems within the correctional environment.

When phone companies bid on inmate phone contracts, they take operating costs into consideration. Equipment that supports security features for inmate phones can cost millions of dollars. Additionally, the phone company considers the cost of repairs, non-collected bills and fraud when establishing calling rates for inmate calls.

Alternative types of calling plans currently offered in the community, if used in the correctional environment, would bypass mandatory security features, so they are not allowed by the NH Department of Corrections.

How does an inmate get access to telephones while in prison?
During Admissions and Orientation, inmates are provided with information on how to obtain a Personal Identification Number (PIN) and how to establish a calling list. Inmates are allowed to have up to twenty (20) separate numbers (excluding in-state attorneys) on their calling list. Inmates are not allowed to use another inmate's PIN or share their PIN with another inmate.

Inmates can access telephones at the facility they are housed at to make calls, subject to the rules of that facility. Pay phones are available in the inmate housing units. These phones may only be used for purposes designated by Unit Staff.

Access to telephones is a privilege. Inmates must abide by institutional rules on phone usage or their privilege may be withdrawn at any time. Restrictions on phone use will be imposed on inmates whose status would make it contrary to the secure operation of the institution or for public safety.

What type of calls are inmates allowed/not allowed to make?
Inmates may place local and long distance prepaid calls or collect calls.
Third party phone calls are not permitted.

How do I know if an inmate is calling me?
A recorded message may be inserted to let the person being called know that they are receiving a call from an inmate. Periodic recorded messages may be inserted during the call advising the receiving party they are talking to an inmate.

Why can’t I receive inmate calls?

First - inmate can only call numbers which are on their personal “Calling list”.

Second: There are many possible reasons why you are not receiving calls. The first step is to diagnose the problem and be directed to the appropriate venue to resolve the issue.

The ICS system has several prompts that instruct both the caller and call receiver why certain calls cannot be completed. It is important that the call receiver listens to the prompt and give that message to the help desk or repair personnel.

Unfortunately, many smaller independent phone companies, known as Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (C-LEC), and some companies such as MCI, AT&T local services, cell phone companies, and all VOIP companies, do not have billing agreements with the contracted service providers for DOC. In these cases, the companies providing local and long distance service to DOC facilities will not allow a collect call to go to that company. The option with the ICS system is for the call receiver to prepay for calls.

To address phone problems at all DOC facilities, contact the provider listed at the bottom of this page.

(When a person becomes aware that there is a problem, the billed customer will usually contact their local operator. Local operators do not have access to the record information at correctional facilities. Additionally, the individual correctional facilities do not have access to this information and, in most cases, are unable to provide a proper resolution.)

Who pays for the calls?
If the inmate makes a prepaid call, his prepaid phone account is charged for the cost of the call.
If an inmate makes a collect call, the person accepting a collect call from an inmate will pay for the cost of the call. The recipient must accept the collect call charges.

What if I don't want an inmate to call me?
Contact the institution where the inmate is being housed and request that a block be put on your phone number.

Are inmate phone calls monitored?
Yes. Outgoing phone calls from inmates may be monitored and recorded, unless the call is to an attorney or an organization known to provide legal services. Notices are posted near inmate telephones advising the inmate that their call may be monitored and/or recorded.

Can inmates receive incoming calls?
No. Inmates are not allowed to receive phone calls unless it is an emergency situation and/or permission has been granted by their Unit Manager.

How much will the inmate call cost?

INMATE COLLECT CALL PRICES

CALL TYPE INMATE TELEPHONE COST TO ESTABLISH CALL INMATE TELEPHONE CALL COST PER MINUTE
Local Exchange
$1.20
$0.10
(No charge for first 5 minutes of call)
Intra-LATA (In State)
$1.20
$0.10
Inter-LATA (National State to State)
$1.20
$0.10

INMATE PREPAID CALLING PRICES

Contractor shall not be allowed to charge additional processing fees including one-time account start-up fees.

CALL TYPE INMATE TELEPHONE COST TO ESTABLISH CALL INMATE TELEPHONE CALL COST PER MINUTE
Local Exchange
$0.50
$0.10
(No charge for the first 5 minutes of call)
Intra-LATA (In State)
No Charge
$0.15
Inter-LATA (National State to State)
No Charge
$0.15

What features on a phone might prevent receipt or disconnect a call?

Three-way Calling: NHDOC rules prohibit three-way calls. DOC blocks these numbers.

Cordless Phones: Sometimes signals sent through cordless phones are intermittent or spotty. Disruption in the phone signal may cause the call to be disconnected. Security features on some cordless phones automatically change channels that can and may cause the call to be disconnected. If you must use a cordless phone, remain stationary in a location where you have a strong signal, however, it is strongly recommended that you do not use a cordless phone.

Cell phones: DOC Rule allows inmates to call cell phones. However, most telephone companies prohibit collect calls to cell phones. DOC has no control over the blocks placed by telephone companies. Do not set up an advance pay account for cell phones. Using debit is the only option for calling cell phones.

Call forwarding: Inmates are not allowed to call numbers that are forwarded to other locations or to cell phones. DOC blocks these numbers.

Also: Call Waiting, Tele-zappers, extended periods of silence or pressing keys on the keypad after the connection.

3-WAY CALLING NOTICE
This facility utilizes a superior 3-way prevention system to prevent 3-way calling activity. This detects and terminates all potential 3-way calls.

Users should understand what causes actual and false (potential) 3-way call responses and subsequent call terminations. Understanding what causes a 3-way call termination will prevent false 3-way call interruptions.

The NHDOC has made this list available to you to assist you in preventing unwarranted 3-way call terminations.

Potential call terminating false 3-way responses:
• Do NOT attempt a 3-way call. All 3-way calls will be immediately terminated
• Do NOT use a speaker phone or amplified phone
• Do NOT use a cordless phone out of range or one with static problems
• Do NOT accept call waiting during your call
• Do NOT yell into the phone
• Do NOT cup a hand over the mouthpiece to mute or cut out background noise
• Do NOT cough into the phone
• Do NOT pick up another extension during the call. If this is necessary, speak immediately after picking up the extension. Begin your conversation immediately after accepting the call.

How can a call be more cost efficient?

It is less expensive to have one long conversation rather than several shorter calls. Most calls have a connection fee plus a per-minute rate. For example, the combined charges for a 20-minute call are less expensive per minute than the cost of four, five-minute calls.

The best savings in most cases is to purchase prepaid time.

How does Prepaid calling work?

When an unbillable destination number is called, the called party will hear prompts providing information regarding Prepaid Calling Services and the toll free number of 888-506-8407 to reach the ICSolutions’ prepayment center. The called party is invited to stay on the line for a short one-time free call with their caller and at the conclusion of the call they will be automatically transferred to the prepayment center. The series of events is as follows:

1. The called party is advised of requirement of prepaid services.
2. The called party is invited to stay on the line for a short one-time free call.
3. At the end of the free call, the called party is automatically transferred to the payment center. The inmate is notified of the transfer and disconnected from the call.
4. The called party will be offered a choice of payment options (Credit Card, Debit Card, Check-By-Phone, Western Union, Money Gram, Money Order & Cashiers Check) to establish the prepaid account.
5. Once the account is funded, the phone system is automatically updated and the inmate will again be able to call that person.
6. The entire process takes as little as 15 minutes but may be longer depending on the payment method selected by the called party.

Advantages of Prepaid Calling

• Balance notification with every call
• No preset limit
• Calls allowed to numbers that would otherwise be blocked
• Refunds returned in five business days when account is no longer needed.

I have an overdue, outstanding phone bill. Can I receive calls from an inmate?

All billing questions need to be directed to the issuing telephone company. Most companies have plans to reactivate your service, with certain restrictions, which will allow you to receive calls.

How do I prepay for phone calls?

All prepaid transactions are handled by ICS and their subcontractors. Please contact them at
1-888-506-8407 for detailed information and instructions.

I am prevented from receiving calls from an inmate until my new area code/prefix is programmed into the telephone system. How do I fix it?

The phone company programs the inmate telephone system to allow calls to be placed to a new area code or new prefix anywhere in the U.S. To address this issue call the service provider listed at the bottom of this page.

My phone company said there were no blocks on my phone. Is the NH Department of Corrections blocking me?

Your phone company does not have access to information that will identify who blocked the phone from receiving inmate calls. To identify who blocked a number, call the NHDOC’s service provider listed at the bottom of this page.

Why are my calls cut off prior to the time limitations set by the NH Department of Corrections?

The primary reason for disconnected calls is an interruption in the phone signal. This may occur at either end of the connection. Cell phone and VOIP lines are prone to this problem. These calls are made at the customer’s risk. Refunds will not be made for cut off calls of this type. To address phone problems at all DOC facilities, call the service provider listed at the bottom of this page.

How can I block my phone number from correctional facilities?

You may request that a phone block be placed on your number. The items needed are a copy of the page of your phone bill showing the owner’s name and phone number and a note signed by the owner requesting that NH DOC place a block on your number at all correctional facilities. Send to:

NH State Prison Investigations
PO Box 14
Concord, NH 03302-0014

Inmate Communication Solutions (ICS) is the principle service provider for all NH DOC facilities. ICS will resolve all repair and debit issues or direct them to the proper agency or subcontractor. ICS can be reached at:

Customer Service/Mailing Address:

Inmate Communication Solutions
P.O.Box 53126
San Jose, CA 95153-0126

Or Customer Service Line:
1-888-506-8407

Or

E-mail at: customer@ICSolutions.com
Web at: www.ICSolutions.com

 

 

 
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