Report: Nebraska jails profiting from high phone call fees

Posted By: Channel 8 Eyewitness News

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) _ The American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska says some counties in the state are profiting from exorbitant fees for phone calls made by inmates in jails.

The report found that inmates in state prisons can make a 15-minute call for $1.50, while inmates in the state’s county jails may pay $7 to $19 for a similar call.

The ACLU of Nebraska says the high fees limit inmates’ access to the basic need of communicating with their families and lawyers.        

For-profit telephone companies contract with jails to handle collect and paid calls by inmates. Those contractors then give a portion of the profits to local counties.

Brad Johnson is the director of the Lancaster County Department of Corrections. He says the fees aren’t unreasonable and help cover incarceration costs.