Kansas and Nevada Inmate Phone Rates to Decrease

TOPEKA, Kan. — Embarq Payphone Services Inc. will provide telephone services for inmate calling at Kansas state correctional facilities, after finalizing a three-year contract with the Department of Corrections here.

The contract, which contains an option to renew for two more years, provides for different rates for collect, prepaid and inmate-prepaid calling that will yield overall cost reductions of approximately 40 percent, officials say.

“It is important for inmates to be able to maintain contact with their families and friends,” says Secretary of Corrections Roger Werholtz.

The DOC recognizes the cost of telephone calls from correctional facilities can create financial hardship for inmates and their families.

“I am pleased that the new contract will help reduce those costs,” Werholtz says.

Depending on the call type — local, interstate, international, collect or prepaid — inmates will pay calling rates of up to 41 cents per minute with surcharges between $1.28 and $2.61 per call.

Under the agreement, Embarq will provide inmate-call monitoring and recording capabilities, with system costs and security functions funded entirely through call charges.

“These are complex installations with continually improving technology,” says Paul Cooper, general manager at Embarq. “You can’t just win the contract and walk away.”

The contract guarantees a minimum annual commission of more than $1 million to the DOC, which will be used to supplement departmental investment in offender programming and services, officials say. In addition, the contract specifies a 41 percent commission for the DOC after the guaranteed minimum annual commission is realized.

In other news, Embarq announced a preliminary three-year agreement to provide telephone services for approximately 13,000 inmates housed by the Nevada Department of Corrections.

The $7.2 million deal will deliver significant cost savings to inmates by lowering calling charges, officials say. Inmates will pay $1.45 for a 16-minute local call, compared to the $1.89 charged by previous provider, MCI.

A 16-minute intrastate call will cost $2.73, down from $4.48, while the cost of a 16-minute long-distance call will drop from more than $18 to about $16, officials say.

The deal will also generate additional revenue for the state through a guaranteed commission for the DOC, officials say.

Headquartered in Overland Park, Kan., with a workforce of about 18,000 employees, Embarq operates in 18 states and provides inmate telephone services for state facilities in Michigan, South Carolina and Wisconsin.

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