Sentenced To Pricey Phone Calls

The Dish previously covered the exorbitant prices charged to families who receive a phone call from prison. Nancy Scola examines how technology has made the phenomenon even more absurd:

Today, there are prepaid calling plans that eliminate the need to float collect-call fees, software that can monitor human speech, and voice-over-Internet-protocol technologies (VOIP) capable of reducing costs; the tab on one 20-minute call to Carbon County Correctional in Pennsylvania equals the monthly bill on my home Vonage plan. Interestingly, we do see innovation at the margins, like startups that equip prisoners' family and friends with numbers local to the prison but that, thanks to the magic of the Internet and VOIP technology, ring through their long-distance phones, thereby avoiding long-distance fees.