Ruling On Inmate Phone Calls Could Save Oklahoma Millions

Jun 15, 2017

A new ruling against the Federal Communications Commission is estimated to save the Oklahoma Department of Corrections $1.2 million dollars per year.

The case was decided Tuesday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter challenged the FCC’s ability to mandate rates for inmate phone calls within the state.

Removing that mandate means Oklahoma prisons and jails will be able charge more per phone call to cover the costs of monitoring inmate phone calls.

"The excessive cost would have been detrimental to the DOC and sheriff’s offices," says Hunter. "This ruling will allow for inmates to continue communicating with their families on the outside while ensuring the calls are properly monitored.”

The ruling is expected to also save the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office around $375,000 per year and other sheriff departments in the state may see similar savings due to the ruling.

Oklahoma was the first state to challenge the FCC’s 2015 ruling to place caps on how much inmates can be charged for making phone calls. Eight other states and several sheriff's offices across the country later joined Oklahoma’s appeal.