Counties accused of profiting from jail call kickbacks

A class action lawsuit has been filed against San Bernardino, Orange and Riverside Counties over an alleged kick-back scheme involving telephone calls from jails.

The suit not only brings a challenge to the high cost of jail calls, it claims the involved counties have allegedly turned a blind eye on the exorbitantly high prices charged by the phone companies because of the kick-backs they purportedly receive from the companies who provide the services.

This accusation is based on the reality that counties control the telephone contracts for jails within their jurisdictions and as a result, have the ability to negotiate better rates. It appears that rather than negotiate for lower costs and reduced fees, jail call rates have remained high and in the process added increased revenue to county coffers. While at the same time, the high costs of the calls are passed along to unsuspecting family members and friends of the incarcerated. These individuals pay the exorbitant fees to keep communications open between themselves and their loved ones. Although the fees can vary, most consider the rates unreasonable. Over time, counties have purportedly earned millions of dollars from these jail call charges…

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