Mayor Linda Gorton today reversed a new policy at the detention center that unintentionally caused inmates to have pay for phone calls and video conferences in order to talk to their attorneys.
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Mayor closed the jail to all visitors on March 10. “Our only intent was make the jail safer for inmates and corrections officers,” Gorton said.
Starting March 19, the no visitor change was expanded to include attorneys, again to improve safety. However, the change also keeps attorneys from visiting their clients in person at the jail.
The jail has telephone and video conferencing for inmates. In keeping with state policies, it has always charged inmates for the calls: currently, 14 cents per minute for audio only phone calls; video conferences for $7 each.
Gorton said the jail will no longer charge for calls or video conferences for inmates communicating with their attorneys. “People in jail cannot work,” Gorton said. “Because of that, their families may already be having financial difficulties. Our intent was to improve safety, not increase the burden on these families.”