Sen. Champagne Statement on Senate Passage of Bill Providing Taxpayer-Funded Phone Calls to Inmates

May 21, 2021

Assistant Senate Republican Leader Dan Champagne (R-Vernon), member of the legislature’s Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement in opposition to a Democratic measure that requires the Department of Correction (DOC) to provide telephone services for inmates in correctional facilities and allows the commissioner to supplement phone services with other means of communication such as video and email, at no cost to the inmate or other party involved on the call. An amendment to lower the existing fee for inmates to cover only this cost was defeated along party lines. The bill was ultimately adopted by the Senate.


“The taxpayer, again, bears another portion of an inmate’s financial burden. From the time the inmate is arrested, the victim is likely financially impacted. Then, taxpayers pay for law enforcement during the investigation and arrest, sentencing, trial and incarceration. Even more, taxpayers cover the cost for parole officers when these offenders are ultimately released, which was previously funded by a portion of the phone charges,” said Senator Champagne.


“Why should the taxpayer have to pay again and again? If a person that ends up in jail, which is extremely difficult to do, wants to avoid the minor charge for a phone call, then he or she shouldn’t commit the crime. We should not dump the entire cost on the taxpayer again,” he said.