Contacting Consolidated Telephone Company

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NOTE:  AS OF MARCH 31, 2013, Consolidated Communications will no longer be the carrier for IDOC inmate phone calls, Securus Technologies is taking over:

As each inmate enters the IDOC he/she is given the opportunity to submit a list of names for approval on a phone list.  These are the only persons that the IM will be allowed to call.  Each of these approved contacts must establish an account with Consolidated Communications, the telephone company that services Illinois Prisons.  The telephone number for Consolidated is 1-800-235-4416.  The IM is given a pin # for his phone contacts and enters it before each collect call that he makes.  This allows for and directs the billing to each account holder.  All calls are made collect - there is a standard connection charge and a per minute cost  depending on the distance of the call.  Before accepting the charges the callee may obtain the costs by recorded message.  Most calls are a maxiumum of 30 minutes in length.  The inmate may only update his phone list once each month.

Upon approval the IM's contacts must call Consolidated and establish an account.  The service varies depending on the phone service used, i.e. SBC, Comcast, etc.
Some companies allow Consolidated to collect payments for them and some do not.  If your phone service does not allow direct billing you may be billed by and pay directly to your Consolidated account.  Consolidated and your private phone carrier will set the monetary limits per month.  However, a credit card deposit or prepayment will allow you to exceed the pre-set limits.

A caution to those establishing accounts with Consolidated:  these calls can be very expensive.  Within Illinois the calls average about $10 per 30-minute call.  Outside Illinois the amounts skyrocket, usually starting at about $30 per call and upwards.  International call rates are outrageous.

Information needed by Consolidated to establish an account:  Name, address, phone number, phone service company, social security number, inmate's name, institution and IDOC #.

There's been some controversy lately regarding the use of cell phone accounts.  Consolidated has established accounts for cell phone numbers, ONLY if no home account is available.  However, the cell phone must have a credit billable account with a company and not a pre-pay cell number, i.e. when the user adds minutes at intervals of use.

The IDOC stresses that no call-waiting, call-forwarding or three-way calling features may be used during the duration of the call or it can be disconnected.

In addition, Consolidated is very quick to block calls for non-payment after billing due date.  They are also very slow at removing those blocks and calls between loved ones can sometimes be interrupted for long periods of time.  A previous deposit by credit card or cash is helpful in avoiding blocked calls.

A healthy amount of money collected by Consolidated is returned to the DOC.  This system is not very affordable for many families.  There is pending legislation to stop this practice of gouging inmate families in Illinois.  Details are available in the LAWS AND LEGISLATION FORUM.

Just thought I would add that with a cell phone they give a spending limit (a $50/month limit in my case).  I haven't had any issues with them expects thats not very may calls a month (about 6)  >:(  But otherwise they have always had it so he could call the 1st of the next month.

About that $50.00 limit.  I paid them a $150.00 depost so that it would up my limit.  You get 50 + 150 = 200.00 limit now
When he gets out or I get sick of his phone calls or something dumb like that... I call them up and they give me back the 150.00 deposit.

Let me tell you Aaron uses every penny of that $200.00  -  I pay 200.00 a mo in phone calls.  That sucks!  But I love him and its worth it.  If he was going to be in for any longer length of time.... I'd be cutting him off but I can handle this for the time being.
Besides.... when he gets out... he is waxing my car and I am going to get hours and hours of back rubs.  So, I'll pay out the 200.00 LOL!

BTW... I think you can put any dollar amount as an extra deposit.  I just knew Aaron likes to talk and talk and talk. 

I know your not exactly in the states but how long on average does it take for you to get a letter to him and vice versa?

I know for me, I can send him a letter and he gets it in 3-5 days.  If he sends me one it takes about 6-10 days.

I understand the phone bills.  I am at the point that I might have to tell him to cut it down to 1-2 times a week.  He called me 3 times today alone.
 It sort of makes me mad because that 1st min is where they get ya. And his big thing is... " I won't keep you long"  Well, you made the call, that connection cost me more than a 20 min phone conversation.

Gotta love the system!

Oh let me tell ya, I know that delay!  I got a phone call from Aaron today all sad and bummed out because of a letter I sent last week.  We have had a few issues with a former GF and I wrote him explaining my point of view.  Well, the day after I mailed it... he called... and we talked it all out.  Everything was good.  He was happy now.  Well then he got my letter today  3:00 this afternoon.  Well he knew not to call me till after 8:00 so that I would be off work.  So he sat there all freaked out that there was a problem and that I was going to leave him.  5 hours in prison.... oh ya... he was FREAKING out!  LOL (thats bad to laugh)
So, we had to go thru the conversation all over again! 
I'm telling ya, something so small gets to be sooo big when you have to sit there and can't do anything about it.

But all is well and he can't wait to come home.  There BETTER not be a delay on that!!!!!


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