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Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need to set up a pre-paid collect call account?

Federal, State and local Prison collect calls can only be directly accepted on a per-call basis when your phone company has a billing arrangement with the prison's phone provider. To be able to accept collect calls using this service, you need to be able to set up a pre-paid account with the prison's phone provider, or the inmate must have a pre-paid calling card, or the inmate must have a debit calling account.

Who is the collect call provider?

Each state institution has a contract with a phone provider. Usually all state institutions within a state have the same provider. You can call the institution to find out who the phone provider is for that particular institution.  Or review our comprehensive list of State DOC information pages for detailed information on each state.

To view information specific to individual state prisons, click here (a new window will open)

All Federal Prisons, with the exception of private Federal Prisons, use Value Added Communications (VAC). Private federal prisons may use a different provider.

How are collect call rates determined:

In most instances, the collect call rates are determined by distance and by the time of day.  The further away your phone number's origination is from the institution, the more the call will cost. If the number being called is a local number or a number close in distance to the institution, the rates will be considerably less in most instances.

Time of day sometimes makes a difference.  During the day is the most expensive.  Rates drop after 5:00 p.m. and may drop again after 9:00 p.m.

Some states have flat rate calling, no matter where you live within the state. If this is true for the state the prison is located and you live in the same state, this service will not save you any money.

To view information specific to individual state prisons, click here (a new window will open)

How do I know how much a call will cost?

When contacting the phone provider for the prison or jail, ask the rate for your current phone number.  Then ask the rate for a local number. If they need a phone number to check the rates, use the area code and exchange (first 6 numbers) of the phone number to the jail. Compare the two rates to determine approximately how much you will save by having a local phone number to accept the collect calls.

How do I set up a pre-paid collect call account?

Contact the phone provider for the institution. When you set up the pre-paid account, you have to use the new local phone number, not your home phone or cell phone. If you have more than one phone number where you want to accept calls, you may need to set up a pre-paid account for each phone number.


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