June 15, 2012
by Michael Gomes (author's profile)


Phone Justice

A) Metro PCS offers unlimited talk, Text and web for $40.00
dollars a month.

B) Net 10 wireless offers unlimited calls, text and internet
for $50.00 dollars a month.

C) Global Tel Link (GTL) Inmate Phone System offers a 20
minute collect call for $1.00 dollar connecting fee, plus
.10¢ cents per minute after that for a grand total of $2.90,
not including tax of course!

It doesn't require a high school diploma or GED to realize
which of the above is the worst deal. (That would be "C" in
case you're still in elementary school) How is it possible
with today's technology that a 20 minute collect call by a
prisoner needs to cost so much money when a smart phone user
is able to make calls, send text messages, and surf the web
for a fraction of that price? Well, GTL will have you believe
that their complicated set up of monitoring and recording
phone calls demands and justifies such high fees. Yet, they
conveniently neglect to inform you that they utilize VOIP
(Voice Over Internet Protocol) technology to make these collect
calls! I learned this in Mr. Racioppi's computer class, he was
one of my college professors last semester.

When my family receives a collect call from me, their caller ID shows the
call originating from Dallas, Texas-which is where the GTL
call center is located. All prison collect calls handled by GTL
throughout the US is routed to Dallas via VOIP and then connected
to the destination via VOIP yet again. VOIP companies such as
MagicJack, charge only $20.00 dollars for a year's subscription
for unlimited phone calls! with these facts in mind, how can
anyone not see the injustice and inconvenience these prison phone
calls are causing our familiesl?

I am extraordinarily lucky to have a job in prison which
pays me $7.50 per week. Yet, half of that amount goes into a
savings account which cannot be accessed until my release.
So with the $3.75 that I am allowed to spend, I am only able
to make one phone call per week to my family. You may think
20 minutes per week of phone time is enough, but that's because
you are able to live with your wife or girlfriend and children.
You see them each day, eat with them, put them to sleep at night.
However, I must arrange time each week when my family is avail-
able to accept my call. By the time I finish saying"Hi" and
asking how each one of them are doing, the GTL recording comes
on to inform me that I have 60 seconds remaining on my phone

The pain I feel when I have to hurriedly tell my daughter
that our phone time is up and I can only talk to her again next week, is hard to bear.
She doesn't understand why it's such a
big deal for daddy to call her especially when she can talk all
day on her cell phone without worries.

My daughter relies on
talking to me. When I was 16 yrs. old, I quit school, I didn‘t
value education. I felt that I set a bad example because she also _
quit school at the same age. So, I educated myself further and
obtained my GED and took the B.U. (Boston University) entrance
exam, passed, was interviewed and accepted. I am currently a
sophmore with a 3.5 GPA. Through phone conversations, I have
been able to preach to my daughter the importance of having an
education. From taking my advice, she enrolled in Job Corp. and
received her GED and Certified Nursing Assistant licence. As I
continue to tell her about the importance of a higher education,
I lead by example.

Collect calls play a big part in being involved
in your family's lives. But, the basic privilege of making phone
calls should not be a burden on them because of the greed of
inmate phone companies. (A.K.A. Corporate Moguls) There is no
doubt that collect calls can be made cheaper, if only someone
will step up to regulate the service. I want to keep in close
contact with my children so they won’t go down the road I traveled.
Hearing their voices and giving them my wisdom is an important way
to insure they remain on the positive path. I hope you will help
us—the prisoners-to stay connected with our families by lowering
the cost of phone calls.

Michael S. Gomes


Replies (7) Replies feed

SusanWayward Posted 11 years, 9 months ago. ✓ Mailed 11 years, 9 months ago   Favorite
Thanks for writing your blog post regarding phone justice for prisoners. I finished the transcription for your Phone Justice post. It was very well written. Keep up the good work with your education and being supportive to your daughter. - Susan

Michael Gomes Posted 11 years, 8 months ago.   Favorite
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jme. Posted 11 years, 8 months ago. ✓ Mailed 11 years, 8 months ago   Favorite
Michael, I applaud you for speaking up about this issue. GTL seems to me like a huge scam. My husband is in county jail, and we've spent a ton of family money talking to each other. It's disturbing that a big company would exploit the very human desire to hear a loved one's voice, and during a time when money for legal fees, etc. is so crucial. You rock for speaking up. Thank you for providing an address and an agency that I can write to and voice my complaint.

You seem like a person who has taken a very difficult situation and tried to find opportunity in it. Congratulations on your acceptance to college! You're a great model for your children.

Blessings and peace to you, Brother.

Michael Gomes Posted 11 years, 7 months ago.   Favorite
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jme. Posted 11 years, 1 month ago. ✓ Mailed 11 years, 1 month ago   Favorite
Dear Michael,

First, I'm sorry for the delayed response. I am also in school, and struggling to stay productive while dealing with my husband's incarceration. I hope you don't think I forgot about you.

I did write a letter to the FCC but have not received a response. I also sent one to my County's Board of Supervisors. They're elected officials, so they seem a little more responsive than the Sherriff's Office. Have you been continuing this campaign?

How are your studies? What courses are you enrolled in?

I hope that you're finding some peace, and I send happy thoughts to your loved ones as well.


Michael Gomes Posted 11 years, 1 month ago.   Favorite
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prisonactionnews Posted 7 years, 7 months ago. ✓ Mailed 7 years, 7 months ago   Favorite
Hi, Michael

I am writing to let you know about Prison Action News, a biannual journal of prisoners' stories of resistance to incarceration. Written by prisoners and edited and distributed by outside volunteers, PAN has about 1,600 incarcerated subscribers across the US. It is a great outlet to both read and publish stories about fighting exorbitant phone prices, or any other oppressive aspect of prison life. If you would like a free subscription to PAN, write to:

PO Box 832
Watertown, MA 02472

We will print and mail your reply by . Guidelines

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