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Phone call rates squeeze inmate families, boost state prison revenues

Shayna Palles of Glendale said daily calls to prison inmate David Colbert, the father of her 2-year-old daughter, have cost her $180 a month. Inmate-rights groups say Arizona and other states profit from those calls by receiving commissions from companies that handle prisoner phone calls. (Cronkite News Photo by Agnel Philip)

Prison rights advocates say the calling costs inmate family members face are the result of contracts between phone providers and prison systems that give phone service monopolies to providers while providing an additional revenue stream to prisons. Arizona has the fifth-highest 15-minute call cost in the country, according to the advocacy group Prison Phone Justice.

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