SACRAMENTO (BCN) – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced Monday that it has reduced the cost of phone calls for inmates after signing a new, six-year telephone service contract.

The contract with GTL will reduce phone call costs to 2.5 cents per minute, representing a reduction of 5.1 cents per minute for calls within the same area code and 18.5 cents per minute for calls outside of California. International calls will cost 7 cents per minute, a reduction of 68 cents.

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With the price reductions, a 15-minute call to any location in the United States will cost inmates 37.5 cents, according to the CDCR.

“The communication between our incarcerated population and their loved ones is paramount to their rehabilitation,” CDCR Secretary Kathleen Allison said. “This reduction in the cost of telephone calls is the result of the hard work of our administration and staff, and the commitment to make this communication affordable and accessible.”

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Inmates will also no longer be charged a $3 fee to establish an account with GTL and will be allotted 15 minutes of telephone calls and 15 minutes of free video calls every two weeks under the contract.

CDCR officials estimate the contract will save the state’s incarcerated population more than $17 million annually.

The lower costs will take effect March 19, according to the department, which also plans to increase access to communication kiosks and tablets later this year.

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