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Telephone Calls with Prisoners - The Complete Guide
NOTICE TO PRISONERS, FAMILY MEMBERS AND FRIENDS
WARNING: Regarding Telephone Service Providers
The Michigan Department of Corrections' vendor for prisoner telephone service is Public Communications Services (PCS), Inc. Please be aware that there are telephone service providers who claim to be able to save customers money for inmate calls. One such company even uses the acronym "PCS" (Prison Call Solutions). Some of the websites for these telephone service providers advertise that they can "service all Global Tel*Link Corporation and PCS customers."
Please note the following statement from the Department's vendor Public Communications Services, regarding these providers:
"There have been reports of vendors contacting inmate family and friends and claiming they can reduce your cost for inmate telephone calls. These vendors are in no way affiliated with the Department of Corrections or the inmate telephone services provider, Public Communications Services, Inc. Furthermore, these vendors cannot bind Public Communications Services to any obligation, and may cause you to incur more costs through various subscriptions and commitments. Public Communications Services does not receive, and is not responsible, for any payments you make to these vendors, and will not reimburse you for any such payments."
IMPORTANT CHANGES TO PREPAID TELEPHONE SERVICES PROVIDED BY PCS
For anyone who uses prepaid telephone service provided by DailyDial®, please note:
Beginning April 10, 2013, the DailyDial® prepaid phone service will upgrade to the Global Tel*Link Advance-Pay® prepaid telephone service.
Any available funds in a DailyDial® prepaid account will be automatically transferred during this process to a new Global Tel*Link AdvancePay® account. Calling rates will remain the same. This change will allow individuals with an AdvancePay® account to make deposits, check balances, and get other payment instructions, both by phone and online.
No action is required by current DailyDial® account holders. They will be informed that the change has taken effect when they receive their next phone call from a prisoner after the transition.
The below information describes specifically what changes will occur with this transition:
There will be a change in how credit cards are processed. Right now, if you deposit $20.00, you are charged the processing fee of $3.95, thus making your final charge $23.95.
After the conversion, the fee rather than being added, it will be deducted. So in the same scenario, if you deposit $20.00, your final total will be $16.05. Now the total deposited can be raised or lowered in $1.00 increments.
In addition, the minimum deposit will be $5 as anything lower the end user would not be able to accept a phone call (for instance, if the deposit was only $4.00 it would leave only a .05 balance). If someone were to deposit $5, they will be left with a balance of $1.05 thus being allowed to accept several calls.
After the transition, you can access the AdvancePay® by phone, call: 1-855-466-2832 or online, at: www.offenderconnect.com
Prisoner Telephone System - Calling from a Correctional Facility
The current vendor for prisoner telephone services is Public Communications Services. As part of PCS telephone services, prisoners are able to call 20 personal telephone numbers which becomes his/her Personal Allowed Numbers (PAN) list. PAN's will automatically reset each quarter (1/1, 4/1, 7/1, 10/1), which allows each prisoner an opportunity to update his/her calling list. Prisoners are allowed to make telephone calls using the following options:
COLLECT: Prisoners can call certain approved numbers and the call charges will appear on the called party's monthly phone bill. However, note that collect calls cannot be made to cell phones, office phones, or hospital numbers.
PREPAID COLLECT: PCS's prepaid collect option has been migrated from Daily Dial™ to AdvancePay®. This option allows friends and family members to set up a calling account to their personal phone number(s). Every time a prisoner calls one of these numbers, the charges will be deducted from the called party's account. Please visit www.offenderconnect.com or call 855.466.2832 to set up an AdvancePay® account today! (See above notice regarding AdvancePay®.)
DEBIT: Debit calling puts prisoners in control of their personal phone account. Prisoners are able to purchase debit minutes through the institutional disbursement process, which they can then use to call friends and family members. Prisoners can call many phone numbers, including cell phones, with their debit account.
For any questions regarding these calling options, please call PCS at 855.466.2832.
PCS - Prisoner Telephone Rates
Prisoner telephone rates are outlined in the table below (Effective February 11, 2014):
As part of PCS telephone services, prisoners will be able to call only 20 personal telephone numbers but those numbers will be the first 20 personal numbers the prisoner chooses to call each quarter (i.e., Jan-Mar; Apr-Jun; Jul-Sep; Oct-Dec) unless the number is blocked in accordance with the Prisoner Telephone Policy. The first 20 completed calls each quarter will become the prisoner's "Personal Allowed Numbers" (PAN). Prisoners also may call numbers on the universal list.
The prisoner has the option of placing collect calls to telephone numbers on their PAN list. Collect calls are billed to the called party every month through their phone carrier company.
Some local phone providers establish a maximum dollar amount limit for collect calls. You will need to contact your local provider to determine this amount. If you reach the maximum dollar amount limit allowed for collect calls, you may be at a risk of being blocked from receiving future collect calls from an inmate. In such instances, you can call PCS at 855-466-2832 to sign up for a prepaid calling account and begin receiving calls again. You can also visit the website to sign up for service:
http://Offenderconnect.com/portal?action=FACILITYPAGES&siteID=484 (Click link or copy this link and paste it into your browser to access the website)
You can sign up for a prepaid calling account today if you experience any of the following:
Collect calls cannot be made to cell phones, office phones, hospital phones or other commercial phone numbers. Please note in order to complete calls to cell phones, prisoners must call using their inmate debit calling account or call to an established prepaid account.
If you are being billed for any charges that seem unreasonable or unfair, or are experiencing any account related issues, please contact a PCS representative immediately at 855-466-2832.
Setting Up an Account
To sign up for a Prepaid Calling Account, you can call PCS at 855-466-2832 or you can visit their website at:
(Click link or copy this link and paste it into your browser to access the website)
Here is some additional information regarding the setup and funding of Prepaid Accounts:
You may also fund an account at no charge via a cashier's check or money order. There is a $25 minimum payment amount for funding by mail. Payments should be sent to: AdvancePay, PO Box 911722, Denver, CO 80291-1722. Please include your name, the name of the correctional facility where the prisoner is incarcerated and your phone number. Note that it may take up to five (5) business days from when PCS receives payment for the funds to be added to the Prepaid Account.
Blocking Prisoner Calls
There are multiple ways to block calls from prisoners as needed.
If you are receiving unwanted correspondence or telephone calls from a prisoner, you should contact the Warden at the facility where the prisoner is currently being housed. A written correspondence and/or telephone restriction may be placed on the prisoner after a fair and impartial review of your request. We will make every effort to restrict contact from the prisoner after your request is approved. However, if you should receive any contact after the restriction, please contact the Warden at the facility where the prisoner is being housed.
If you are being threatened by a Michigan prisoner, you should contact the Warden at the facility where the prisoner is currently being housed. Our office will also forward your e-mail concerns to the Parole Board, Crime Victims Notification, and the Warden.
Removing a Block
You can remove a block on your telephone number by calling the PCS customer service department at 855-466-2832.
Please note there are other reasons why your phone number may be blocked from receiving collect calls from correctional facilities. These include:
You can sign up for the easy-to-use and convenient prepaid calling program offered by PCS, by visiting:
(Click link or copy this link and paste it into your browser to access the website) or calling 855-466-2832.
Closing an Account
Similar to traditional prepaid calling card accounts, for accounting and recordkeeping purposes, GTL's and its affiliates' prepaid accounts for inmate calling services are subject to closure after 90 days of inactivity. A prepaid account holder may request a refund of any monies left in the account any time during that 90-day period. All prepaid account holders are informed of this policy and of their right to request a refund. Specifically, friends and family of inmates are notified of the terms and conditions of the prepaid account when establishing their account by phone. A detailed explanation of the inactivity policy is also contained in the terms and conditions associated with the prepaid service, which are posted on the OffenderConnect website and are provided to customers when they establish an account. The Michigan DOC website also provides detailed instructions on setting up a prepaid account with PCS, and links to PCS's website, which provides information on the inactivity policy. The Michigan DOC website confirms there is no fee to close a prepaid account should a customer choose to exercise that option. To ensure inmates have access to information regarding PCS's services, PCS makes posters available to each DOC facility for posting in each individual inmate calling location. The posters provide instructions on how to place a call and contact information for lodging complaints and other inquires. This information is provided in both English and Spanish.
Scam and Fraud Protection Notification
Be wary of inmate calls that request you to dial *72 (or any digits) followed by a new ten-digit number. Completing this request can result in the forwarding of your telephone number to a number of the inmate's choosing, and all calls to your true telephone number can be automatically forwarded to the new number without your knowledge. The only way to reverse the forwarding of calls to a new number is to dial *73 (or the digits corresponding to your phone provider). For Additional Information, visit http://www.gtl.net/familyandfriends/consumer_protection.shtml.
Funding Prepaid Accounts via Lobby Kiosk at the Detroit ReEntry Center and Women's Huron Valley
PCS will be partnering with the Department of Corrections to conduct a pilot program whereby we will be installing a kiosk in the lobby at the Detroit ReEntry Center and the Women's Huron Valley facility for the purpose of funding prepaid phone accounts. Currently, these kiosks will only allow for funding of prepaid phone accounts and will not accept any other type of deposit, such as deposits to inmate trust or commissary accounts. However, any PCS prepaid phone account for a Michigan Department of Corrections customer may be funded via these kiosks. Funding is not limited to accounts that receive calls from these facilities. Note that the fee for using the kiosk to fund a prepaid account is the same $3.95 Credit Card Transaction Fee that is charged for deposits made via the Web, IVR or over the phone.
For the pilot project, kiosks will be installed at the following locations:
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