Prisoner advocates say making inmates pay exorbitant fees to make phone calls is bad for rehabilitation and reintegration into society.
The western province of Manitoba has recently begun charging its inmates new telephone rates which used to be almost free. They include a $3 flat rate for calls of a maximum duration of 15 minutes. That is the equivalent of one day’s pay for someone with a prison job.
Phone is a link with the outside, say advocates
The advocacy group, the John Howard Society says phone calls help inmates keep a link with the outside and allow parents to speak with their children. A spokesperson told Canadian Press that research shows the closer you can keep an inmate to society, the easier it will be to reintegrate them when they are released.
A coalition in the neighbouring province of Saskatchewan is fighting phone fees in jails as well, reports the wire service. That provincial government has not clarified what the fees are in its prisons.