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blackbloc

Looking for PBX Help?

8 posts in this topic

I'm hoping that somebody can help me out with this. One of my friends is in prison and prisoners pay horrible rates for phone calls. He doesn't have much money (prison jobs net him $5 a month) so phone calls are very hard to make.

When he calls somebody, an automated voice asks them to press a number (five) after which he is connected. It's like calling collect. A lot of his friends and family aren't local to his area code, so he has to pay long distance rates. Does anybody know of a service where I pay for a local DID that forwards to other numbers? I'm fine with paying the long distance fees if this is possible. Also, he can't be required to login or anything because once the prison phone system hears enough tones, they'll cut him off.

I thought about setting up a phone line with an asterisk box but I was hoping there was an easier solution. I figure I'd have to pay quite a price to get an out-of-area number as well.

Thoughts? Solutions?

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This is the type of situation that asterisk was made for.

Other than asterisk, what would you want? Just a company that would give you a DID in a specific area which you can forward to any number you want?

As you said, though, he can't login to anything to change where the call is being forwarded, so he's going to need a "live operator standing by" to actually set up calls. Like you, lol.

Edited by decoder
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He doesn't need a way to change it. I'd be happy to pay for like three DIDs that forwarded to three different numbers if there's a place out there that offers that. Are there any 'rent an asterisk box' places around?

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I started a thread about DIDs, and I think the information in that thread would help you a lot. The only problem is that I couldn't also fit "and Ordinary Phones" in the title.

Are prisoners allowed to dial toll free numbers and/or local phone numbers without calling collect? Thanks.

Edited by Kayara
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I think a lot of prepaid cellular carriers will let you get a number based on what zip code you give them when you register. It could be a hit or miss, but if you can find a prepaid carrier with cheap/free incoming, it could work out quite nicely.

EDIT: Wait, does the number have to be able to accept collect calls? If so, neither that nor an Asterisk DID will work.

Edited by ThoughtPhreaker
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Are prisoners allowed to dial toll free numbers and/or local phone numbers without calling collect? Thanks.

In most cases an inmate can not make a direct call. Even in situations where the facility offers a free call it registers as a collect call when ringing through. Anyone with a collect call block can not get the calls. Outbound calls will be handled by the IXC of that facilities choice. This can depend for Jails by county, on the state level by the Dept of Corrections, and on the Federal Level by the Bureau of Prisons.

Over all the phone system has had many stops put in place so that they can control what is going on. This stops unauthorized contacts, harassment, and many other things that can happen in an uncontrolled communications environment within a correctional facility.

Have your friend look over the telephone rules for his facility. Usually there is a guidebook, similar to an employee handbook, for these places which he should have been issued upon intake. If he does not have it then he can usually ask a CO for one. Other inmates tend to know all the rules as well. Make sure you know what he can and can't do before you go off giving him a way to thwart their restrictions.

It may be cheaper and easier for you to just put some money on his books instead of paying for phone numbers, equipment, and service.

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I'm not sure if he can make 1800 calls but if he can, they aren't free as I ran that possibility by him a while back. He can make both local and long distance but local is much much cheaper. The phone monopolists at the BOP charge a connection fee as well as a per-minute fee and this guy makes $5 a month at a prison job. Even on a market-rate payphone that doesn't buy you much and he's also got other things to buy like medication.

Over all the phone system has had many stops put in place so that they can control what is going on. This stops unauthorized contacts, harassment, and many other things that can happen in an uncontrolled communications environment within a correctional facility.

This is why I'm probably going to have to go with asterisk. They don't allow PBXes or voicemails and if the system detects too many DTMF tones, they shut down the connection and the prisoner will (likely) get reprimanded. This is a bogus security measure, as a prisoner can just as easily call somebody directly as they can call somebody through a PBX. I don't think they can make international calls, so it would all be within the jurisdiction of the investigating agency should anything come up.

The PBX would have to accept collect calls but not by voice. It would just have to play the tone for the number five after waiting a number of seconds.

Edited by blackbloc
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DO NOT DO THIS !@!

It can be a severe crime to transfer a call from a correctional facility. Calls ARE monitored, and when they hear said inmate accessing a PBX or connecting to outside numbers from that dialed the police WILL be knocking at your door.

Discussing the theories of how this could be done is fine. It may even have some other uses that are legal. However I emplore anyone to NOT set this up for a prisoner phone system.

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