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SOUTH DAKOTA Prison & Criminal Justice Discussions Topics and conversations dealing with the State of South Dakota - Department of Corrections, Criminal Justice System, Prisoner & Family Support, Prison Visitation, Prison Mail & Phones, News & Information, etc.

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Old 09-10-2004, 05:47 AM
Phil in Paris Phil in Paris is offline
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Default Inmate Telephone Access in South Dakota

How does an inmate get access to telephones while in prison?

During Admissions and Orientation (A&O), inmates are provided with information on how to obtain a Personal Identification Number (PIN) and how to establish a calling list. Inmates are allowed to have up to fifteen (15) separate numbers (excluding in-state attorneys) on their calling list. Inmates are not allowed to use another inmate's PIN or share their PIN with another inmate. Violators are subject to disciplinary action.

Inmates can access telephones at the facility they are housed at to make calls, subject to the rules of that facility. In some cases, pay phones are available in the inmate housing units. These phones may only be used for purposes designated by Unit Staff.

Access to telephones is a privilege. Inmates must abide by institutional rules on phone usage or their privilege may be withdrawn at any time. Restrictions on phone use will be imposed on inmates whose status would make it contrary to the disciplined operation of the institution.

Inmates at the South Dakota State Penitentiary have access to pay phones in their housing units.

What type of calls are inmates allowed/not allowed to make?

Inmates may place local and long distance collect calls or debit calls. A debit phone account was established in September 2002.

Third party phone calls are not permitted.

How do I know if an inmate is calling me?

A recorded message may be inserted to let the person being called know that they are receiving a call from an inmate. Periodic recorded messages may be inserted during the call advising the receiving party they are talking to an inmate.

Who pays for the calls?

If the inmate makes a debit call, his phone account is debited for the cost of the call.

If an inmate makes a collect call, the person accepting a collect call from an inmate will pay for the cost of the call. The recipient must accept the collect call charges.

What if I don't want an inmate to call me?

Contact the institution where the inmate is being housed and request that a block be put on your phone number.

Are inmate phone calls monitored?

Yes. Outgoing phone calls from inmates may be monitored and recorded, unless the call is to an attorney or an organization known to provide legal services. Notices are posted near inmate telephones advising the inmate that their call may be monitored and/or recorded. It is the responsibility of an inmate to request or arrange for the use of a non-monitored phone for confidential attorney/client matters.

Can inmates receive incoming calls?

No. Inmates are not allowed to receive phone calls unless it is an emergency situation and/or permission has been granted by the Warden.

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Old 02-26-2006, 11:15 PM
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Inmate Debit Phone Account

What is a debit phone account and how is it different than the collect only system?

With the debit phone account, family and friends can pre-pay for phone calls from inmates. Previously, inmates only had the option of making collect calls to family and friends. Beginning in September 2002, a debit phone account was added for each inmate. Now, family and friends can send in money to the inmate via a cashier's check or money order (no cash or personal checks accepted) and specify on the cashier's check or money order that the money go to the inmate's debit phone account. Work is underway to develop a system for inmates to make international calls via the debit system.

When an inmate places a debit call using their Personal Identification Number (PIN), a message will inform the inmate of how much money is available in their phone account. The call will be made with the inmate’s phone account debited for the cost of the call. The call recipient will not be charged for a call on their monthly phone bill under the debit system.

Is the cost of a debit call cheaper than that of a collect call?

Yes. The Department of Corrections negotiated for a lower cost for both collect and debit calls prior to the debit system being established.

The price of a debit call will be significantly less than the current price of a collect call.

What if I forget to specify that the money I'm sending in is for the phone account?

If the funds are not earmarked for the debit phone account, the money will be placed in the inmate’s commissary (spend) account subject to the DOC policy on Inmate Accounts and Financial Responsibility. Inmates will be able to transfer money from their commissary and savings accounts to their phone account. However, the money transferred from the commissary account will count against the inmate’s $25 spending limit per week. The money transferred from the savings account will be subject to the DOC policy on Inmate Accounts and Financial Responsibility. Inmates will not be able to transfer money that family and friends sent in for the debit phone account, nor funds deposited by the inmate back into their commissary or savings accounts.

Do the inmates get a monthly statement for their debit phone account?

Inmates will not be provided with a monthly statement for their debit phone account.

What happens if an inmate is housed in a facility where debit phones are not available?

If an inmate is housed in a location without access to the inmate phone system, a phone card may be purchased through the commissary with approval from unit staff. If the inmate returns to a facility where the inmate phone system is available, the phone card will be collected from the inmate and held until they either return to a site where access to the inmate phone system is unavailable or upon discharge. Funds in the phone account will not be used to pay for the costs of collect calls from the inmate.

If I send money in to the inmate's debit phone account, can they use that money to call only me?

Funds in the phone account are not specific to the individual who provided the phone money to the inmate. Inmates may use money in their phone account to call anyone on their approved phone list.

If an inmate is nearing release, what happens to the money in their phone account?

When an inmate's release is pending, the debit phone account will be closed approximately one week prior to the inmate's release from the prison system. This is necessary because of time needed to take care of the inmate's banking account. Inmates will have to utilize the collect call system during this time.

Will inmates still have the option to call collect?

The collect call system will remain in place as an option for inmates. Inmates will have the option of placing either a debit call or a collect call.

The cost of a collect call will continue to be charged to the recipient at rates established by the phone companies and approved by the respective regulating agency.

Get well soon David! You are in our thoughts
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