Free Cell Phones for Inmates

There’s a rumor going around that, the Obama administration was providing free cell phones for inmates!  I thought I would do a little research on the matter, but was having trouble finding any legitimate resource for this statement.

I finally stumbled on the information and found quite interesting.  The story stemmed from statements made by Attorney General Eric Holder, on March 24, 2014, about new regulations for better services for prisoners, prior to their release.

The Justice Department, through the Federal Bureau of Prisons, has mandated all halfway houses, provide mental health, parenting classes, and substance abuse treatment for inmates. It is the hope that these services, help inmates with issues that caused them to end up in jail, in the first place.

Why Free Phones for Inmates?

These phones are only available to offenders in transition and living in half-way homes. The inmates receive travel vouchers, look for jobs, and allowed to have ‘cell phones’.

All this is an effort to help inmates integrate back into the community more effectively.  After release from prison, there is often a high rate of recidivism, especially when there is no support or structure.

The transitional home gives the structure while a cell phone can help, these men and women, contract employers, probation offer and look of work.  The Attorney General stated cell-phone use would be allowed, but nowhere in the statement did it say, the government would be handing out free cell phones for inmates.

How Cell Phones Help

A cell phone is a reasonable part of helping these people get back on their feet. Hopefully, many will find employment, housing, and in general, reconnect positively with society.  Ex-offenders living in halfway houses may have access to Lifeline Assistance.

Like anyone else, as long as they meet the criteria, set by the government to receive a subsidized phone. I now suspect it is a rumor of a political nature, and possibly put out there, to keep the tension going between government parties. I will share any new information I find on free cell phones for inmates!

What Eric Holder Really Said

In New Step to Fight Recidivism, Attorney General Holder Announces Justice Department to Require Federal Halfway Houses to Boost Treatment Services for Inmates Prior to Release

WASHINGTON—In a new step to further the Justice Department’s efforts towards enhancing reentry among formerly incarcerated individuals, Attorney General Eric Holder announced Monday that the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) will impose new requirements on federal halfway houses that help inmates transition back into society.

Under the proposed new requirements, these halfway houses will have to provide a specialized form of treatment to prisoners, including those with mental health and substance abuse issues.

For the first time, halfway houses will also have to provide greater (full statement Department of Justice -Office of Public Affairs website)  VIDEO: Attorney General Holder Announces New Requirements for Halfway Houses (