- If possible sign up for a FedPhoneLine and get a phone number that is local to your loved one
- Budget your phone time, if possible have a set calling schedule and talk for a certain amount of time
- Write letters more often to save on expensive phone calls
Phone calls are the easiest and most important way to keep in touch with someone who is incarcerated. But they are SO EXPENSIVE! Especially in facilities that only allow collect calling.
It can cost hundreds of dollars per month just to speak with someone, so we thought that we would pose some ideas/suggestions that will allow you to save money and still maintain healthy communication.
How Much Do Prison Calls Cost?
Collect Calls: Collect calls are the most expensive prison calls and are typically used in Provincial Correctional Facilities. With a collect call, the person receiving the call would pay the charges for the person making the call.
There are 2 charges to deal with, first the connection fee (which varies by distance) and then the long distance fee (which varies by distance and time of day). We have heard that a 20 minute Collect Call from Hamilton to Toronto costs around $11.
If a 20-minute call was made once a day for a month, it would cost around $330 each month! With calls to lawyers, arranging bail, speaking with family the costs can easily be over $500 per month.
Calling Card: Calling cards are less expensive prison calls and are typically used in Federal Correctional Institutions. With calling cards, an inmate’s loved ones can send the inmate money and he/she can put that money onto their phone card.
The inmate can then make phone calls and the money would be deducted from their phone card. With calling cards there is no connection fee, only a long distance fee of 11 cents per minute.
If a 1-hour call was made once a day for a month, it would cost around $200 each month!
How to Save on Prison Calls in Canada?
Yes, calls from incarcerated loved ones are expensive, so here are some tips on how to save on prison calls.
Budget Your Time
Speak with your loved one and figure out a time each day or every two days that he/she should call you.
You will need to know when phones are available (this is tricky since phones tend to be scarce in prison) and for how long your loved one can chat (phones may have time limits on them).
Then look at how much these phone calls will cost you (since most likely you are paying for the phone call in one way or another, whether sending your loved one money or paying via collect call).
By planning your calls you can gain control of your phone time and set up a good routine which will also help you budget your actual time better (no more jumping out of the shower to answer a call!!!)
Sign Up for a Calling Service
Probably the most convenient and best way to save the most money is with a local calling service like FedPhoneLine here’s how it works:
- Sign up for the service (with a Credit Card, Debit Visa, Debit Mastercard, or Prepaid Card from your Bank, Money Mart or the Post Office, NO VANILLA PREPAIDS)
- FedPhoneLine will provide you with a number that provides you with the lowest rate possible (another bonus is that it allows you to make collect calls to cell phones)
- Your loved one will call the FedPhoneLine number, which is connected to your phone
- You and your loved one can communicate for the cheapest price, there are no fluctuating fees, you know what each call costs
FedPhoneLine can easily cut your phone bill by over 50% and still allow you to talk to your loved one.
Write more letters and visits
Letters are a great way to communicate with loved ones and they are cheap! Add pictures, send cards and artwork (if appropriate). Letters are a great way to keep in touch and can help relieve stress.
Also, there are some facilities where securing phone time or phone numbers is difficult and letters can be a preferable form of communication. Letters tend to be time-consuming, however, they are a less costly way to communicate.
A visit once per month is beneficial for you and your loved one, it may take some planning since most facilities are not in local areas and visits are expensive. However, if you budget phone time and free time perhaps you can visit your loved one. Nothing can beat a face-to-face visit (if applicable). Each facility has different visiting hours, click here to view them
We hope the information was beneficial, feel free to leave more tips in the comment section on how to save on prison calls and other ways to communicate with loved ones in prison.