(KTXL) — People serving time in California prisons will be able to make phone calls for free in 2023 thanks to the Keep Families Connected Act, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said.
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The free calls, beginning Jan. 1, include those made from tablets. Families and friends will also not be charged for making calls to the prison.
Making phone calls free for both parties is meant to help people serving time maintain a “strong support system,” so that they have a better chance of successfully adapting outside of prison.
“The ability to call your partner, children or friends to instantly share your joys or sadness is something most of us take for granted,” Senator Josh Becker, D-Peninsula, said in a press release. “It’s well-documented that this contact makes everyone involved do better in life.
There will still be restrictions on phone calls, however, such as they can only be made for 15 minutes at a time during set hours. Although there is a time limit, there is no limit on how many free calls someone can make. Calls can be made both domestically and internationally for free.
The calls will still be recorded.
“CDCR is fully committed to maintaining positive bonds between incarcerated people and their loved ones,” CDCR Secretary Jeff Macomber said in a press release. “Making audio calls free removes the financial barriers and burdens to the population and their support system, we hope this will have a positive impact on the rehabilitative process.”
An active ConnectNetwork Advance Pay account with ViaPath Technologies will still be needed. Those who still have money in an account can call to get a refund.
To create an account or get a refund, call VPT customer service at 866-607-6006.
ViaPath Technologies is the CDCR’s communication service provider.