"Scott: If you want to dig a little further, you'll find that the telephones in the Dallas Couny and (I think) Harris County jails only allow prisoners to make collect calls and that the per minute rates are exorbitant. Then, lo and behold, you'll find that part of those charges are kicked back to the counties. In other words, the counties are making a profit on those calls -- profit that is subsidized by the inmates' families and the criminal defense lawyers who receive the majority of the calls."I agree profiteering off these calls borders on grotesque, and it happens everywhere, not just Dallas and Houston. Often counties charge ridiculously high fees they come to rely on in their budgets. Unfortunately, that income stream is also the ONLY incentive for jails (or potentially TDCJ) to offer phone access. So whaddya do?
Though local jails are a different issue from state prisoners, the judge's comment about costs to local attorneys raises this question to me: Is county profiteering off jail calls to attorneys effectively reducing inmates' access to attorneys and inhibiting their right to counsel?
Wouldn't such policies provide an insitutionalized economic incentive for attorneys to minimize client communications? I wonder if there's a constitutional case there?