Problems with jail phone system leads to changes

Problems with jail phone system leads to changes

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Phone troubles at the Yakima County Jail are causing people to rack up big bills just trying to keep simple communication going.

Michael Mousseau's best friend was put behind bars three weeks ago. She's in jail until she can pay off fees for a crime she committed years ago.

"Communication in these situations is important, you know, to stay established with families, attorneys, and all that," said Mousseau.

Staying established is harder than they thought.

Mousseau's phone calls fade in and out every time they talk. His friend didn't want her voice recorded, but we could heard the problems myself.

The calls cut out to where you have to call back repeatedly. Each call costs the inmate $2.50, but each call also costs Michael.

"I've spent $120 dollars in three weeks," Mousseau said.
    
To even call an inmate, money has to be wired to a company called I-C solutions, which is contracted with the jail.

Each call costs the person on the outside $2.50 as well.

So every connection is a $5 charge in all across the two parties.

So when the call drops, the parties are also dropping another five-bucks to re-establish the line.

The jail says it's aware of the problems.

"Occasionally we have trouble with the phone system just like everybody would have trouble with equipment that they have in their business," said Lt. Gordon Costello, Yakima County Corrections spokesperson.

It's working with a new company and working on installing a new system so that the time apart isn't made worse by falling out of touch.