The prison telecom industry is booming. It shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. This is because prisons are always being built and inmates will always need to communicate with various people. Also, the United States has more people in prison than any other country in the world. Unfortunately, the prison telecom industry has some serious problems that do not seem like they are going to be worked out any time soon. The system is set up in a very flawed manner that allows these telecom companies to prey on the inmates who they provide phone service for.
Global Tel-Link and the companies that compete with them enter into exclusive agreements to service prisons. Each prison has just a single phone provider. Therefore, the company has a total monopoly over the phone service of each prison they are contracted to serve. Monopolies are never good for the customers of the companies that are involved. This situation is no exception to that rule. Global Tel-Link has developed a notorious reputation for charging ridiculously high rates to the inmates being housed in their prisons. This is why many family members of these inmates believe that government regulation is the only way to stop the greed of these prison telecom companies.
Regulation has been slow to happen because prison phone companies are large political donors. They donate a lot of money to prevent regulation from happening. This strategy has worked so far. The politicians who could vote on regulating the prison telecom industry always get plenty of donations from Global Tel-Link and their competitors. This makes the possibility of regulations being created very small. This type of conflict of interests is very common in Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, inmates are still being forced to pay unfair rates for the opportunity to talk to the people they love.