Being able to stay in touch with someone who is incarcerated is crucial for many people. Phone calls can be one of the most reliable ways to communicate with a loved one in jail, but inmates are not always able to foot the bill themselves. This is where being able to put money on a phone for jail calls becomes essential. In this article, we outline the steps involved in adding money to a phone for jail calls, review different online platforms and service providers, and provide tips for managing funds for jail calls.
II. Step-by-Step Guide for Depositing Money on the Phone for Jail Calls
Before you can make a call to an inmate, you must first have a way to pay for it. Follow these steps to add money to your phone for jail calls:
A. Research the Specific Corrections Facility
Each correctional facility has specific rules and regulations for inmate phone calls, and the methods and amounts for adding money to an inmate’s account can vary. It is important to research and understand the guidelines for the facility your loved one is in, to ensure that you follow the right process and avoid any unnecessary complications.
B. Create an Account with the Correct Service Provider
Once you have identified the correct method for depositing money at the facility, you will need to sign up with a service provider. There are several different online platforms available for depositing money on a phone for jail calls. Be sure to choose a provider that works with the facility in question, and that you trust and feel confident using.
C. Add Funds to the Account
To add money, you will need to enter payment details such as your credit card or bank account information. Check to ensure that the online platform is secure and encrypted before entering any sensitive information. Note that some platforms may charge additional fees for adding money to your account.
D. Apply the Funds to the Inmate’s Account
Once you have added funds to your account, you will need to apply them to the inmate’s account by following the instructions provided by the service provider. Make sure you have the correct information for the inmate’s facility, inmate ID, and other relevant details for the transfer of funds.
E. Verify that the Funds were Received by the Facility
It may take some time for the funds to become available to the inmate. Once you have applied the funds, make sure to verify that the facility has received them and the inmate’s account has been credited.
III. The Best Online Platforms to Add Funds for Jail Calls
There are several online platforms available for depositing money on a phone for jail calls. Here are some of the most popular ones:
GTL (Global Tel Link) is a leading provider of communications services to correctional facilities. They offer several ways to add money to an inmate account, including through their website, phone system, or even at a GTL kiosk located in a correctional facility.
Securus is another well-known provider of communication technology services to inmates. They have an easy-to-use platform that allows you to add funds to an inmate’s account, schedule visits, and even send emails.
ConnectNetwork is a popular online platform that allows you to add funds to a phone account, set up video visits, and send messages to an inmate. They offer several payment options including credit cards, debit cards, and PayPal.
IV. Understanding the Phone Systems Used in Correctional Facilities
It is essential to understand the phone systems used in correctional facilities to make the most out of your calls. Here’s what you need to know:
A. Overview of Call Limitations
Correctional facilities impose time limits on calls, and may limit the number of calls an inmate can make in a day. They may also impose restrictions on the length of individual calls and may monitor all phone calls.
B. Types of Phone Systems Used in Correctional Facilities
There are two main types of phone systems used in correctional facilities: collect calls and prepaid calls. Collect calls allow the recipient of the call to accept the charges, which are typically higher than prepaid call rates due to additional fees. Prepaid calls, on the other hand, require you to set up an account and add funds ahead of time, making them more cost-effective.
C. Tips for Utilizing the Phone System
Knowing how to make the most out of your available phone time can ensure that you stay connected with your loved ones in jail. One way to maximize your time is to schedule calls in advance, so you have a clear idea of when you’ll be able to talk and can plan accordingly. You can also use call blocking features to prioritize incoming calls from your loved one and avoid being disturbed during other activities.
V. Tips for Efficiently Managing Funds for Jail Calls
Managing your funds wisely can prevent unexpected charges and keep your costs down. Keep these tips in mind when making calls to an inmate:
A. Setting Limits and Budgets
Setting a limit on the amount of money you’re willing to spend on calls can help you stay within your budget. Additionally, choosing a service provider that allows you to set up auto-replenishment of your account can help you manage your funds more efficiently.
B. Scheduling Calls
Scheduling calls can help you make the most out of your time and avoid overloading an inmate’s account. Many online platforms offer scheduling features that allow you to book specific times for calls in advance, so you can plan your other activities around them.
C. Keeping Track of Call History
Tracking your call history can help you stay on top of your spending and budget accordingly. Many platforms offer options to view call history, so you can keep track of how much you’re spending, how long the calls are, and when they happen.
VI. Key Players in the Jail Calling Industry and Their Services
There are several service providers offering jail call services, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the most popular ones:
A. Global Tel Link (GTL)
Global Tel Link is one of the largest providers of jail call services, offering a range of services such as prepaid calls, collect calls, and video visitation.
B. Securus Technologies
Securus Technologies is another leading provider of jail call services, with a range of services that include prepaid calls, video visitation, and messaging.
C. Reliance Telephone
Reliance Telephone offers prepaid and collect call options, as well as messaging and video visitation.
VII. Comparing the Costs of Different Jail Calling Methods
The cost of jail calls can vary depending on the service provider and method used. Here is a breakdown of the fees associated with each method:
A. Collect Calls
Collect calls charge the recipient of the call for the cost of the call, including additional fees. Rates can vary depending on the correctional facility and service provider.
B. Prepaid Calls
Prepaid calls require you to pay for minutes in advance, usually at a lower rate than collect call rates. Additional fees may apply, depending on the service provider.
C. Video Visitation
Video visitation can be more expensive than phone calls, but can be a valuable option for those who cannot physically visit their loved ones. Rates can vary depending on the service provider and the length of the visit.
VIII. Common Mistakes to Avoid When Adding Funds for Jail Calls
There are several common mistakes that can end up costing you more money or causing issues with adding funds for jail calls. Here are some things to avoid:
A. Not Researching the Facility
Not doing your research on the correct facility and its regulations can lead to complications and delayed phone calls.
B. Not Reading the Fine Print
Ignoring the fine print can cause complications, such as additional fees or limitations on the amount of money that can be added to the account.
C. Not Scheduling Calls in Advance
Not scheduling calls in advance can lead to missed calls or overloading an inmate’s account.
Being able to add funds to a phone for jail calls is essential for staying connected with a loved one who is incarcerated. By following the steps outlined in this article, researching different service providers, and managing your funds carefully, you can ensure that you stay in touch with your loved one while avoiding unnecessary complications or expenses.