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updated: 12/19/2012 12:10 PM

Cook County cuts cost of jail phone calls

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Submitted by Cook County

The Cook County Board has approved revisions to a contract with Securus Technologies, which will result in Cook County Jail inmates being able to talk twice as long for half the cost. Instead of a five minute call at booking, detainees will be given 15 minutes worth of free calls. Paid calls will be 30 minutes instead of 15 minutes. Surcharges have been eliminated and connection fees have been reduced. The contract continues to include call recording and call monitoring functions, and the sheriff's office will be given upgraded software to help with investigations. Cook County will continue to provide free calls to inmates when they are discharged and free calls to an inmate's public defender. Calls from the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center also will remain free. The Securus contract guarantees the county revenues of $3.3 million in 2013, down a bit from the prior agreement. The next contract, which will take effect in December 2014, will be revenue neutral, ensuring that the rates charged to inmates only cover the cover the cost of installing and operating the phone system, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said.