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Interview with Kristen, Renee, Chad and Dennis

JM: Did you have regular access to telephones?
Kristen: you have certain times when you are allowed to use the phones, which you have to have a family member of friend pay for and when you first arrive you are not allowed to use the phone at all until you are classified.
Renee: Yes, when we weren't locked in our cells we were aloud to use the phones as we pleased.
Chad: Yes, there are usually 8 phones on each pod. You can use them any time the inmates aren't locked in their cells.
Dennis: yes and you could buy phone cards on the commissary so you could call people who didnt accept collect calls.

JM: What types of charges applied for calling people? How much money would you guess the average inmate spends per week on phone calls?
Kristen: It is expensive...I would say my parents spent about $20-$30 a week for phone calls, but a lot of inmates had no family or friends to call, so it they didn't even use the phone.
Renee: A ten dollar phone card would buy you three 30 minute phone called. I usually called out every other day. The majority of money was spent on phone calls.
Chad: Jail telephone systems are big bucks, especially if you are calling out of the local calling area of the jail. Even if you are making local calls from the jail, it can cost $3-$5.00 per 15 minute call. Absolute rip off.
Dennis: The phones were all collect call phones but you could buy phone cards for ten dollars a piece but you only got about three to four ten min, calls per phone card. As to the average amount spent i couldnt say some inmates spent all day on the phone and others would only call once a week.

JM: Did you need to buy phone cards to call out?
Kristen: my mom would deposit money in my account through the computer and then I would have to purchase however many minutes I wanted to purchase over the phone.
Renee: Yes we could but 10 dollar phone cards on commissary, or families could set up a phone account where they put money on for us to call them.
Chad: I believe you can buy phone cards, but you can also have your people on the outside set up an account with the phone provider on their website.
Dennis: yes if the people you wanted to call did not accept collect calls.

JM: Did the jail screen your calls?
Kristen: There was a recording that said calls may be monitored/recorded before every phone call.
Renee: Yes, every call was recorded.
Chad: The jail records all calls.
Dennis: I dont think they screened them but i know they recorded all of them.

Read about how inmates pass the time in the Erie County Prison

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