Andy Olsen wrote:I will say the arguments that people in the jail are victims was a bit much to take.
Thanks for your explanation as to how you voted. I appreciate your efforts on the phone cards to try to alleviate some of the burden. However, I would like to remind you that some people in jail are, at least to some extent, victims as they have not necessarily been proven guilty.
Additionally, the real victims are the inmates' families who end up flitting the bill for these calls in most instances. Many of these families have had their phone service shut off as a result of their inability to pay the bills. Imagine telling your 6 year old child that he or she can no longer speak to mom or dad because the calls are too expensive.
Regarding your comment that the alternate contract only reduced the fee by $1.25 per call, I think this is a significant difference for some. Imagine being a mother receiving W2 or SSI ($624 to $673/month for W2 or slightly less (often around $500) in many SSI cases). Your child's father calls three times each week for one month. Assuming 5 weeks per month, that's 15 calls for a total cost difference of $18.75. This works out to be 2-4% of your income for the month that could have been saved with the alternate contract. I realize This may be a drop in the bucket for most of us, but when your income is so limited, it is a lot. That $18.75 will buy a couple packages of diapers or a lot of ramen noodles.
The fact that the rates did not increase from the previous contract is hardly justification for anything. My mom always told me that two wrongs don't make a right. Just because we've been raping the wallets of inmate's families for years doesn't mean we should continue to do so.
No matter how you argue it, we are taking this money from many of the county's poorest residents. We may even be assuming that some innocent people should be treated as if guilty. I'm ashamed to think that this is the price we pay for lower property taxes, etc. There are better solutions out there.