According to this story from Think Progress, inmates at the California Detention Center must pay $20 for a 5-minute phone call:
From the post:
Long known for exploiting inmate needs, immigration detention centers that generally contract out services like their phone systems, are generously paid by the federal government to hold ICE detainees. A group of 40 activists gathered outside the West County Detention Facility (WCDF) in Richmond, CA last Friday to protest the exorbitant phone rates that immigrant detainees have to pay in order to contact loved ones and lawyers.
or this further down:
Immigrant detainees at WCDF pay upwards of $20 to place a five-minute phone call. A connection fee of $3.25 is charged for all phone calls within the state with “per-minute rates running as high as 25 cents for interstate calls and an additional 30 cents when phoning out-of-state.” Calls are often dropped, but detainees must pay the connection fee regardless. A 20-minute phone call costs $14, which means that WCDF receives a 57 percent commission, or $7.98.
I wouldn’t bet my life on it but almost that every single person reading this post is an immigrant (unless you’re Native American). Your family might have been here for fifty years or one hundred years or two hundred years, but at some point your ancestors left their homeland to make a better life for themselves on the shores of a new continent or across a border.
We have immigration laws and they should either be enforced or changed but these detainees are already in prison. Is it really necessary to rip them off besides? Why are there *any* private prisons in the US? The incentive for the owners of private prisons is to get and keep more people in jail. How is that in any way in the spirit of the Statue of Liberty which welcomes immigrants to our shores?
All these men and women are guilty of is trying to create a better life for themselves in their native lands. Crossing the border illegally is a crime and we truly need to reform our laws but I see no way any present-day American can fault people who are just trying to do today what their ancestors did fifty or one hundred or two hundred years ago.