Infographic: The high cost of calling home from jail

Click on the image for a PDF version of the infographic
Text by Josephine Li
Design by Scot Clarke

Did you know?

Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services policy requires all calls from inmates to be collect calls.

The cost of these calls are passed along to families and lawyers.

Our concerns

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) and John Howard Society of Ontario are concerned about the high cost of calling family, friends and legal counsel from Ontario’s jails.

Together, we have asked the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services to consider changes to improve the situation for prisoners and their families who want and need to maintain affordable contact.

Who’s affected?

  • People waiting for trial (people who are presumed innocent until proven guilty)
  • People in immigration custody
  • Prisoners in sentenced custody

Why does it matter

  • Inmates who are able to keep in touch with their families are more likely to reintegrate successfully upon release
  • Many families can’t afford the added cost of collect calls from jail
  • Prisoners often have ongoing or new legal issues that make it necessary for them to call their lawyers
  • The inability to afford contact with legal and emotional support can place prisoners at risk of mental health issues, failed rehabilitation, and continued imprisonment

Ontario jail phone calls

  • 239,000 local calls/month
  • 50,000 long distance calls/month

Sources

  • Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. Statistics on Calls.
  • Toronto Star. “Prisons in Canada are increasing phone costs for inmates.”
  • Radio Canada International. “Advocates decry increased charges for prisoner phone calls.”
  • CBC. “Province gets ‘kickback’ from inmates’ collect calls, lawyer says.”