The Serial podcast, see consumerist.com was one of the most famous podcasts in the history of the world. The 15 installment show covered a murder that took place in 1999. The man in jail for the murder is named Adnan Syed and the journalists driving the podcast is Sarah Koenig.
The final episode of the show started off like many of the shows before, with a collect call from Syed. Except this is not any collect call, it comes from a company called Global Tel-Link. The beginning of the call is painfully familiar to millions of people in America, it states, “This is a Global Tel-Link prepaid call from Adnan Syed, an inmate at a Maryland correctional facility.”
Global Tel-Link is the largest provider of telecommunication services to law enforcement across the country. They have thousands of private contracts to provide telephone calls to the inmates on the inside of these facilities as well as their families trying to call them from the outside. According to NY Times, they’ve recently made waves in the news because of an FCC regulation that they’ve been unhappy about and their obviously unethical treatment of prisoners and their families.
Global Tel-Link makes calling a prisoner cost prohibitive for many families across the country. This can completely remove a person from his or her family at a critical time in their life. And the lack of communication between an inmate and their family increases recidivism rates. Global Tel-Link does this by charging an absurd amount of fees, forcing families to open accounts with minimum deposits and charging mind blowing rates per minute for even local telephone calls.
To put this matter into perspective, somebody went ahead and did the math. Syed spent over 40 hours on the telephone through Global Tel-Link with investigative journalist Sarah Koenig. The telephone bill added up to over $2,500. Visit ACLU.org today and see what you can do to help.