How much does it cost to implement a prison phone system? The answer might surprise you.
With the prison population worldwide constantly growing, the focus for many correctional facilities is improving rehabilitation and lowering recidivism, yet millions of inmates still don't have access to a secured and monitored phone system.
This lack of communication could cost a lot more than people realize.
The cost to society
Keeping an inmate housed in a correctional facility costs the taxpayer money. Each inmate costs an average of $33,274 each year in the United States, and there are over 12 million inmates worldwide.
With the number of inmates on the rise, we can begin to see the scale of the problem.
Without proper communication and reduced visitation (because of the covid-19 pandemic), inmates lose contact with their friends, family, and loved ones, and their rehabilitation suffers.
When it is time for them to re-join society again, they often feel like they don't have anybody they can turn to for help, isolated, and alone. One of the biggest challenges newly released inmates face is finding work and providing for themselves.
Currently, there are over 10 million unfilled jobs in the US, but inmates still struggle to find work, and without any support to help them and a lack of affordable housing, they turn to crime to pay the bills, and society is the victim of this vicious cycle.
The emotional cost
But poor communication isn't just a monetary problem. It is too simplistic to only look at how much this is costing society. What is the emotional cost of not having a prison phone system?
Not being able to communicate with loved ones is difficult for anyone. But when inmates don't have access to a prison phone system, these emotions are multiplied, and the effects can be life-changing. No phone could mean that a parent loses contact with their child(ren), a life-long friend gets cut off from the group, or a partner separates from a loved one.
In normal circumstances, these events would be traumatic and difficult to deal with, but in a confined space and unable to change the outcome, these emotions can build up, leading to further problems that affect rehabilitation.
The cost to their mental health
Stress is one of the most significant factors inmates face in correctional facilities, and finding a release for it can be almost impossible. With reduced visitation and communication, an inmate's mental health is pushed to the limit and sometimes beyond it.
One of the biggest causes of stress for inmates is the health of their loved ones on the outside. Worrying about their well-being is common, and the stress often triggers other negative emotions.
Talking has been proven to alleviate these negative emotions, and close contact with family gives inmates a more positive perspective, but when they don't have this release, it can lead to violence, which causes problems for prison services.
The preventable cost
In correctional facilities where inmates don't have access to a phone system and suffer from the emotional stresses of no communication, illegal contraband such as mobile phones are much more common.
These phones can put inmates in danger, leading to more illegal activities. With constant, uninterrupted access to the outside world, inmates can do as they please, calling whoever they want when they want.
But just having a phone system doesn't eradicate this problem. If the system is old or over-simplified, prison services face the same problem. Even if they impose time limits, they can ultimately lose control of the communications. Without a secured and monitored phone system, prison services can end up paying the price.
The cost-free solution
A secured and monitored phone system that costs nothing to install or operate. Any income generated comes from the system once it is operational.
BSW International partners with local companies to overcome infrastructural issues, and the InPhone system is already in use in many correctional facilities worldwide from Mexico, Ghana, and Brazil, to Uganda, Israel, Albania, and more.
InPhone gives inmates the freedom to make calls when they want but keeps prison services in control, blocking numbers, recording calls, listening to conversations live, and more.
This cost-effective solution helps everyone, society benefits from better rehabilitation and improved recidivism rates. Inmates benefit from a better quality of life, and prison services benefit from a communication system that puts them in control.
Nobody should have to pay the price of poor correctional facilities' communication solutions.