Are Families Of Mass. Prisoners Paying Too Much For Phone Calls?

BOSTON (CBS) – The Department of Telecommunications and Cable was set to hold hearings Thursday to determine whether Massachusetts prisoners and their families are paying unreasonably high telephone rates and getting a poor quality of service.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports.

Some inmates’ families are paying $150 a week to talk to their loved ones in state county jails.

Lois Frasier’s son is serving time at the MCI Shirley Complex. She says talking to him on the phone is breaking the bank for her.

“I’m not a rich woman; I don’t have a car to go see him. They’ve been robbing me blin,” said Frasier.

But, Curtis Hopfinger of Securus Technologies, which has a contract with 14 Massachusetts counties, says they’re not making a huge profit here for the specialized inmate phone services they’re providing.

“Their major goal is safety, security, and fraud detection. Therefore our rates are higher than standard telephone service. But we do not believe they are excessive,” said Hopfinger.

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