ASSEMBLY, No. 4576

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

216th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JUNE 22, 2015

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  GORDON M. JOHNSON

District 37 (Bergen)

Assemblyman  BENJIE E. WIMBERLY

District 35 (Bergen and Passaic)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires lowest possible price not exceeding certain cap for intrastate inmate telephone calls.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning inmate telephone charges and supplementing Title 30 of the Revised Statutes. 

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    a.  All telephone service contracts for inmates in State or county correctional facilities shall be subject to the procurement provisions set forth in chapter 34 of Title 52 of the Revised Statutes; provided, however, the State Treasurer or appropriate person on behalf of the county correctional facility shall contract with the qualified vendor who proposes the lowest per minute rate not exceeding the maximum rate allowed by the Federal Communications Commission for interstate calls for debit, prepaid, and collect calls and who does not impose a surcharge or collect a commission for each telephone call.

     b.    A State department or county shall not accept or receive revenue in excess of its actual operating cost for establishing and administering telephone services as provided in subsection a. of this section.

 

     2.    a.  The Department of Corrections and each county correctional facility shall make available either a prepaid or collect call system, or a combination thereof, for telephone services for inmates.

     b.    Under a prepaid system, funds may be deposited into an inmate account in order to pay for telephone calls, provided that nothing in this section shall require the department or county to provide or administer a prepaid system. 

     c.    For the purposes of this section, a “collect call system” shall mean a call system pursuant to which recipients are billed for the cost of an accepted telephone call initiated by an inmate. 

     d.    The provider of the inmate telephone service, as an additional means of payment, shall permit the recipient of inmate collect calls to establish an account with that provider in order to deposit funds for advance payment of  those collect calls. 

 

     3.    The department shall establish rules and regulations or departmental procedures to ensure that any inmate telephone call system established by this act provides reasonable security measures to preserve the safety and security of each State and county correctional facility, staff member, and person outside a facility who may receive inmate telephone calls. 

 

     4.    This act shall take effect immediately and section 1 shall apply to any new or renewal contract for inmate telephone services in effect on or after April 10, 2015. 


STATEMENT

 

     This bill requires the State and the counties to contract with the lowest bidder for intrastate telephone service contracts for inmates in State and county correctional facilities.  The maximum per minute rate for calls may not exceed the maximum rate allowed by the Federal Communications Commission for out-of-Sate calls.  That rate currently is 21 cents per minute for debit and prepaid calls and 25 cents per minute for collect calls.  Furthermore, a bidder would not be authorized to impose a surcharge or collect a commission on inmate telephone calls.  The bill also prohibits a State department or county from accepting or receiving revenue in excess of its actual operating cost for establishing and administering inmate telephone services. 

     The bill also would require the Department of Corrections (DOC) and the counties to make available a prepaid or collect call system, or a combination of the two, for telephone services.  Under a prepaid or “debit” system, funds may be deposited into an inmate account in order to pay for telephone calls, as long as the department is not required to provide for or administer that prepaid system.  The provider of the inmate telephone service, as an additional means of payment, is required to permit the recipient of inmate collect calls to establish an account with that provider in order to deposit funds for advance payment of those collect calls. 

     Finally, the bill requires the DOC to establish rules and regulations or departmental procedures to ensure that any inmate telephone call system established by the bill provides reasonable security measures to preserve the safety and security of State and county correctional facilities, staff members, and those outside a facility who may receive inmate telephone calls.