PORT ANGELES — Clallam County has found a vendor to provide low-cost phone calls for juvenile inmates.
The three commissioners reviewed Monday a proposed agreement with NCIC Inmate Communications of Longview, Texas for resident telephone services that would charge Juvenile and Family Services Facility inmates a flat fee of 10 cents per minute.
Clallam County Juvenile Corrections Manager Chad Avery said the existing agreement with Securus Technologies includes connection fees and a rate of 21 cents per minute.
“A one-minute phone call costs about $2.05, whereas a 15-minute local call would cost the kids $6.25,” Avery told commissioners in a Monday work session.
“What NCIC is proposing is that they charge simply 10 cents a minute with no connection fees, no surcharges, no inflated first-minute rates, no single-pay transaction fees and we, Clallam County juvenile, we’re not seeking any revenue share.”
NCIC Inmate Communications has agreed waive all fees and “let our kids call their friends and family for just the 10 cents straight per minute, which is a great service,” Avery said.
Commissioners are expected to approve the one-year contract next Tuesday.
“I appreciate the cost-reduction effort,” Commissioner Bill Peach said.
Commissioner Mark Ozias said he would support the agreement and questioned whether the county could provide free telephone calls for inmates.
Avery said the Juvenile and Family Services Facility had been providing free calls during COVID-19 pandemic because of visitation restrictions.
“We could do it for free, but as far as my history goes we’ve always had the pay phones in the pods, and that’s what they’ve used for their free-time phone calls,” Avery said.
Free phone calls have been administered through the juvenile detention center’s control room, Avery said.
“I don’t know if there are other models out there that would be worth looking at to understand how to make it easier for people who are incarcerated, whether they are juvenile or an adult, to communicate with their support network,” Ozias said, “but I really appreciate the effort and the movement in that direction.”
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at [email protected].