CALLING HOME: A HARDSHIP FOR PRISONERS, A BOON TO BRISTOL COUNTY SHERIFF
July 21, 2020
The Boston Globe
By the Editorial Board
A court ruling in favor of the sheriff puts the onus on Massachusetts lawmakers to end the practice of charging exorbitant phone fees to inmates and their loved ones.
Allison is a Brockton mother of two kids whose husband is a detainee at Bristol County’s C. Carlos Carreiro Immigration Detention Center in Dartmouth. He has been in the facility for a little over a year. The last time Allison saw him was in early March, before county jails and state prisons suspended in-person visits as one of their safety protocols for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Allison tries to call her husband daily so he can stay in touch, especially with their 8-year-old son. But each phone call is expensive. “It can add up super quickly,” Allison said. “I find myself adding the maximum amount of money to my prison telephone account, which is $50 every two days, more or less.” Plus, she gets charged a $3 fee for every recharge. Allison is an administrative employee in a nonprofit organization and doesn’t make a lot of money. “When things are tight in terms of finances, I have to cut back those phone conversations to very brief check-ins, but that is not doing any justice to my children.”