On April 22, Verizon implemented a service change in which its landline customers are no longer allowed to accept collect calls from inmates confined within the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
Federal inmates were notified of this new policy through an April 17 notice posted to the Inmate Bulletin Board system on TRULINCS computers. This follows Verizon’s July 2016 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filing in which it provided advanced notice of its service exclusion.
As of April 22, if an inmate makes a collect call to a Verizon landline customer, the Bureau of Prisons will not process the call.
Prisoner’s families who use Verizon landline services domestically need to contact Value Added Communications (VAC) at 1-800-913-6097 in order to set up a pre-paid account so that they can receive phone calls from their incarcerated loved ones. If the prisoner’s family is located outside of the United States, they will need to call VAC at 00+1972-535-0549 to create the pre-paid account.
This service change does not impact any other inmate telephone regulations. Federal inmates are still restricted to 300 minutes of phone time per month and calls still adhere to the following cost schedule:
Local debit calls: $0.06 per minute
Long-distance U.S. debit calls: $0.21 per minute
Debit calls to Canada: $0.35 per minute
Debit calls to Mexico: $0.55 per minute
Debit calls to other countries: $0.99 per minute
*Collect calls vary depending on carrier and can cost upward of three times the cost of a debit call.
To learn more about the Inmate Telephone System, please see the Federal Prison Handbook.
Christopher Zoukis is the author of Federal Prison Handbook: The Definitive Guide to Surviving the Federal Bureau of Prisons, College for Convicts: The Case for Higher Education in American Prisons (McFarland & Co., 2014) and Prison Education Guide (Prison Legal News Publishing, 2016). He can be found online at ChristopherZoukis.com and PrisonerResource.com.