Inmates have the right to receive mail sent to them by companies. There are rules to this of course. The rules are rather simple because, NYDOCCS would not pass out letters from home if it was not regulated by the Courts.
Over Ten years ago, the founder of Jail Calls, Brian Prins, started having problems with the State Of New York. He found they were sending his mail into the garbage cans as well as returning it.Back then it was MCI who had the inmate phone contract. Today is it VAC, a company owned by Global Tel Link. VAC charges according to the contract they have with the NYS Department of Corrections.
This law suit was held off because, the Department of Corrections stated in their last suit against them that they changed their policies and they told the court they would not do this type of behavior again. This was in a law suit file just over a year ago by Prison Legal News and settled on November 21, 2012. Before the month was out, the NYSDOCCS smacked the Judge in the face with their blatant policy change and violation of Jail Calls rights to send mail to inmates and have them receive it.
It belies that fact that inmates are not the customers of Jail Calls. This is what makes the company so upset. The Officials at the NYDOCCS are threatening inmates that, if they use Jail Calls they might be subject to discipline. It is the families of the inmates that create the accounts. It is the families of the inmates that are looking for ways to make their lives easier and receive their calls on the phone of their choice. Yet, the Department of corrections does anything they can to stop the families from having CHOICE. That is what this is all about. It is about the freedom of the press, the free of choice and the freedoms that are still enjoyed by inmates and their families.
Jail Calls is mindful that families monies are limited and has plans for them to save a lot more than if they used AT&T or Verizon for instance. These companies charge upwards of $60 dollars for a home phone. The only reason these families have a home phone is to forward the calls to their cell phone. WHY? Because they have had their choice taken away. NYSDOCCS decided that since they control the inmate they want to control the family as well. This fact is told simply by the way they treat visitors as well. The NYSDOCCS acts like they are above the law. They act like they make the laws. They act like the violations of law they commit on a regular basis do not matter. While they settle cases all the time and do not admit wrong doing, how many millions does it take of taxpayer dollars to say they were committing wrong doing??? The facts are the facts and they are not disputed here.
Jail Calls is not going to make this easy on Corrections and I am sure the court will agree. It seems that they settle to easily for to low of a number. Maybe the court will tell them that TEN TIMES the last settlement is now due. That is just going to hurt the taxpayer but, Corrections only cares about what it wants in it's twisted mind and to hell with what anyone else has to say.
To see the law suit in its entirety you can get it online through the Southern District Of New York under docket #13CV1138. On March 1st, 2013 at 9:30 am the Honorable Judge Seibel will be holding a hearing on the matter. It just might be over for Corrections at the same time it starts with this action. There is nothing left for NYSDOCCS to say, even I am sorry, will not suffice!