Inmates phone call price drops

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COLUMBIA -- The Boone County Jail inmates will pay 10 cents per minute instead $1 per minute.

According to The Boone County Commission and former circuit court judge Gary Oxenhandler, This 90 percent drop has it's benefits and faults. 

The price drop happened because of a new contract for jail phone services, but Oxenhandler wants it to be cheaper. He said it should be 4 cents a minute.

"Our jail houses the poorest of the poor in our community in addition... they key to the outside world besides complete liberty is the phone system and we were shackeling them even further," Oxenhandler said. 

The commission decided last Tuesday to go with a phone service contract with Century Link.

They worked with them before and was a little unsure.

But after going through different contracts from numerous places, the commission chose Texas-based Securus Technologies.

We also spoke with Northern District Boone County Commissioner Janet Thompson and she said, "I think it's really important for us to make sure that the folks that are detained in our jail have as low a price as practical."

The commission said they will be making less money.

"When the commission said this was a priority for us, in conversations with our auditor she said you guys you've made this determination great move but now we are going to have to find that money elsewhere."

Thompson said they are trying to move sources around to make up for that revenue loss. 

The five-year contract with two one-year renewal options. Thompson said the agreement got the price “as low as practicable” while still having enough revenue. County officials said it should generate $10,000 annually.

Oxenhandler said this isn't benefiting anyone but the County. 

He said calls will have a 20 to 25 percent increase in use. He also said they would be generating $100,000 a year for the county. 

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