Arkansas Prison Officials Drop Cost of Collect Calls for Inmates

JANUARY 19, 2007 - Posted at 11:30 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Prison officials have cut the cost of telephone calls for inmates, a decision that advocates say will reduce the financial burden on prisoners' families.

The Board of Corrections decided yesterday to cut the amount charged for collect calls by nearly $2, a 27 percent reduction from the current rates.  Effective next month, the cost of a 15-minute collect call will be $4.80, down from $6.60.

The board also approved reducing by ten percent the state's commission on the collect calls, from 55 percent to 45 percent.

Correction Department director Larry Norris says the commission was cut after discussions with legislators and rumors of a bill that would eliminate the commission altogether.

Inmate advocates say the cost of collect calls is hard on poor families, and that most inmates come from high-poverty areas.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)