Families are a key support group for offenders and their ability to stay in touch with loved ones while incarcerated is an important tool in inmates’ rehabilitative efforts. It also is comforting for the family to know that their loved ones are all right and getting along well while incarcerated. Such communication can help an inmate be more successful in treatment programs and behave better while in prison.
How to talk on the phone to a youth in a youth correctional facility
Preapproval required – To receive a call from a juvenile offender, your number must be on the offender’s pre-approved list. Contact the youth’s case manager or the superintendent for approval.
- Pine Hills Case Manager: (406) 232-1377
- Riverside Case Manager: (406) 225-4516
- Youth Transition Center: (406) 452-5047
Juveniles are allowed at least one free call per month approved through their case manager. Other calls must be made as collect calls.
Hours - Youths may make calls at the following times:
- Youth Transition Center – on weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and on weekends from noon to 9:30 p.m.
- Riverside and Pine Hills – any day of the week, outside of regular programming hours. Youths typically are free to make calls in the evening on school days, and on weekends when they are not in scheduled or structured activities.
Frequency and length of calls – How often a youth can make a call is determined by availability of phones and how many calls recipients are willing to accept. The duration of calls at Riverside and YTC is limited to 15 minutes; Pine Hills has no limit.
How to talk on the phone to an inmate in Montana State Prison or Montana Women’s Prison
Facilities not covered by the state’s inmate phone contract – The following information does not apply to the facilities that operate under a contract with the state. For information about inmate phone service at one of these facilities, you may contact:
- Crossroads Correctional Center in Shelby – DOC monitor, (406) 434-7415
- Cascade County Regional Prison – DOC monitor, (406) 727-1930
- Dawson County Regional Prison – DOC monitor, (406) 377-7687
- Missoula Assessment and Sanction Center – Administrator, (406) 258-4021
- Passages Assessment, Sanction and Revocation Center in Billings – Lead counselor, (406) 294-9609, ext. 243
Security – Only collect and prepaid calls from adult inmates are allowed. Security is a primary concern, and prison officials must be able to track who inmates have contact with and the nature of their interactions, to ensure security practices are not violated. Inmate calls, except those to attorneys, are electronically monitored and recorded. Security concerns require this to protect the public from harassment, unwanted calls and illegal activities. This is a common practice in correctional facilities across the country.
To receive a call – To take a call from an inmate, you must accept the charges or set up a prepaid phone account with the Inmate Telephone System Provider (See Cost and billing section). When an inmate calls, you are informed that you have a collect call from an inmate at the specified facility and are given four options: accept the call, refuse the call, block calls from the facility or get a rate quote for the call.
Hours – Calls can be prohibited for security reasons at any time.
- Montana State Prison – 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
- Montana Women’s Prison – 6 a.m.to 10 p.m.
Frequency and length of calls – How often an inmate can call depends on the inmate’s classification level. Calls are limited to 30 minutes.
Restrictions on calls – Inmates in confinement for disciplinary violations are not permitted to make phone calls. Phone calls are a privilege, not a right, and access can be affected by an inmate’s behavior.
Cost and billing
The flat-rate cost is based on a $0.24-per-call connection fee and 12 cents per minute. A 30-minute long-distance call from an inmate at Montana State Prison, Montana Women’s Prison and Pine Hills and Riverside youth correctional facilities to anywhere in the continental United States costs about $3.84 plus taxes and fees mandated by state and/or federal law. Costs vary at the contract facilities because they use different providers.
Commission collected from inmate calls – At the two prisons, all commissions earned go into the “inmate welfare fund,” which is used to pay for inmate activities and programs, including subscriptions to the satellite TV service and recreational equipment for the inmates. Most of the fund’s revenue comes from phone calls.
At Pine Hills and Riverside, the facilities’ share is placed in a phone fund. The superintendent determines how this money is spent, based on recommendations by staff and youths. Money is used for special events for youths or additional recreational equipment.
Billing – Billing is handled by Telmate, LLC, the state’s contractor for the inmate phone system. If your local/long distance provider has a billing contract with Telmate, LLC, then inmate calls are billed to your home phone through your local phone company. If your local provider has no contract, you will have to establish a pre-paid account with Telmate, LLC.
Web site: http://www.telmate.com
Limit on phone bill charges that can accrue – Unless you have a pre-paid account, the amount you can accrue on Telmate phone bill is 4 calls per day, 24 calls per month and $250 per month. When those amounts are reached, Telmate blocks calls until the bill is paid.
If your local phone provider doesn’t handle collect call billing – For Montana State Prison and Montana Women’s Prison, inmate families or friends can create pre-paid inmate phone accounts to cover the cost of calls. This can be done several ways:
- Go online at www.telmate.com. This address, available around the clock, also can be used to recharge an account and check balances on an account. Major credit cards or a checking account can be used for payment. Online transactions require a $30 minimum payment.
- Call the Telmate, LLC, customer service department at 1-866-516-0115.
- Use Western Union to add money to an account. Find the nearest office at www.westernunion.com. Call your Western Union or Money Gram payment into Telmate's customer service 1-866-516-0115. They will electronically process your payment and post the funds to the prepaid account.
Calls with attorneys
Inmates can request to have attorney phone numbers added to the list of Attorney Privilege Calls. After the numbers are verified as belonging to attorneys, the phone numbers are added to the database and calls to those numbers are not monitored or recorded. The calls are subject to the same charges as other adult inmate calls.
MSP inmates may dial 211 from the inmate phones and leave a message asking Telmate to add an attorney’s phone number to the Attorney Privilege Call database. Telmate then:
- verifies that it is a valid attorney number
- adds valid numbers to the database
- leaves a voice mail for the inmate informing him if and when the number was added