Inadequate telephone service

Hamdiya Cooks
The telephone system is one of the most necessary forms of communication prisoners have to connect to their loved ones. On July 17, 2007, the former MCI Department of Corrections line of business was acquired by Global Tel*Link (GTL), to continue the inadequate telephone service previously provided by MCI in the prison system.
CCWP members are being told that the new telephone system does not allow accounts to be set up where calls can be received in Mexico. This type of discrimination prohibits a significant number of people from talking to their families who live outside the U.S.
Global Tel*Link?s website tells us what the company considers most important: ?GTL understands that completed calls equal happier inmates and families. Most importantly it means increased revenue to your facility.? Exorbitant per-call surcharges and per-minute usage charges are continuously levied against poor people and prisoners, those who need assistance most.
A lot of families of prisoners don?t have the financial means to visit their loved ones in prison on a regular basis; the occasional phone call is what keeps the family connected. Incarcerated people understand that calling home can also be a burden on an already depleted budget. However, for people locked up, keeping connected to loved ones is the life line for remaining sane in an insane environment. When prisoners are not considered important or their needs aren?t recognized, the result is hopelessness. One family member has related that even though funds are in the prisoner?s account to cover telephone charges, the phone lines are still blocked.
I have tried to contact employees at Global Tel*Link to no avail. This is unacceptable. We ask you to work with CCWP and other organizations working to combat the forces that keep our families and loved ones apart. Together we can support one another and come up with solutions to change this inhumane system.