Legislature Passes Jail Phone Call Plan

The Monroe County Legislature passed a plan to provide inmates at the Monroe County Jail a limited number of free phone calls per week. Inmates will receive 75 minutes of calls at no cost.

This came about after Legislator Barnhart asked the Sheriff’s Office to use revenue from past calls to offer free calls. The Sheriff’s Office came up with this plan in response.

Legislator Barnhart made the following remarks at the March 9 Legislature meeting, in which the proposal was unanimously passed:

I would like to again thank Sheriff Baxter and Undersheriff Brown for their work on making calls accessible to inmates. When I approached them with this idea, they came up with a plan. 

It’s imperative that incarcerated individuals maintain community ties in order for their well-being and successful re-entry. Their families bear the cost of these calls. This plan will save families about $30 dollars a month.

Using the telephone trust fund to pay for the calls is appropriate. These funds were collected from past calls and the fund will be maintained from future calls. I don’t believe we should profit from incarceration at all, but this is a giant step in the right direction.

The activists in our community who have worked so hard to shine a light on injustice in our criminal justice system also deserve credit for this important action we are taking. 

Thank you to everyone who is supporting this legislation.

Read the Democrat and Chronicle’s coverage of this issue.