prisoners make a lot of telephone calls

Securus Technologies, a leading inmate telephone service provider, recently stated that the company “now completes over 120 million calls from inmates to friends and family members per year on all its calling platforms.”[*]  Assuming that Securus handles about a third of total inmate calls, and that prisoners (inmates) in the U.S. number about 2.2 million, the Securus figure indicates that prisoners average about 14 telephone calls per month.  This total does not include the large number of calls made using contraband cell phones.

One of the busiest calling days for prisoners (and non-prisoners) is Mother’s Day.  According to Securus, “concurrent calls (calls made and completed at the same time) on its Secure Call Platform increased from 4,321 in 2009 to 8,689 in 2011 on Mother’s Day.”  Non-prisoner voice call volumes have been falling.  Reductions in telephone calling prices for prisoners may explain the large growth in prisoner telephone calls.

Call volumes for non-prisoners vary a lot across persons.  The call volume distribution tends to be a heavy-tailed distribution, with some persons making no calls and a few persons making a very large number of calls.  The call distribution for prisoners is likely to have a similar shape.

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[*] Securus press release, “Securus Technologies, Inc. Establishes New Record For Call Volumes,” dated June 15, 2011.

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