The Government of Ontario has confirmed that it’s working on a new prison telephone system that will allow inmates to make calls to cellphones.
As it stands, inmates are only able to place collect calls to landlines. This system has been criticized by lawyers for being excessively punitive and creating barriers for inmates and their families.
Because the calls are collect, families can pay around $1 per minute, which lawyers say some cannot afford. The advocates argue that this makes it harder for inmates to keep in contact with loved ones, maintain employment or receive counselling.
It’s unclear exactly when this revised cellphone system will roll out. However, the government notes that its existing collect call system is operated under a contract with Bell. The agreement expires in June, but in the meantime, a proposal for a new phone system has been submitted.