Team Ameelio

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Team Ameelio

July 1, 2024

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5 minutes

NPR Highlights Extortionate Prices In Prisons, Ameelio Fights for Affordable Communications

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NPR Highlights Extortionate Prices In Prisons, Ameelio Fights for Affordable Communications

Something is rotten in the prison communications industry. Recently, NPR’s hit podcast, The Indicator from Planet Money, highlighted the high prices incarcerated individuals and their friends and family pay to make phone calls. While the average American pays very little to make a phone call, incarcerated individuals and their friends and family pay between $3 and $6 to talk to one another for a mere 15-minutes. As host Adrian Ma points out: this is a lot considering that, for just a few more dollars, your average person can get a cell phone plan with unlimited calling. 

Why are prison and jail calling costs so high? Today, two companies – Securus and Viapath – dominate the market. These two providers often negotiate with prisons and jails, offering kickbacks to correctional facilities in exchange for use agreements favorable to the provider. This creates a lack of competition and checks and balances, resulting in runaway prices and low quality service. Families and friends go without food or electricity just to speak with their incarcerated loved ones, only to have their calls be dropped due to poor connection. Incarcerated individuals suffer from the lack of connection. Families are separated. No one wins.

This is not a problem without a solution. Since 2020, Ameelio has been working to provide incarcerated individuals with affordable video-calling options. Ameelio has provided over 30,000 incarcerated individuals with reliable and secure video calling services that are free for families and friends and cost the government less than $0.01 per minute. Ameelio’s work has shown that there are solutions: prison calls can be inexpensive, reliable, and secure and correctional facilities, in partnership with Ameelio, can provide the telecommunications services that incarcerated individuals need to successfully reenter society. Ameelio is excited for future opportunities to work with correctional facilities to provide low-cost, reliable calls to reunite incarcerated individuals with their friends and family.

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