What is a Chirp Phone in Jail?

Technological advances continue to spread to various aspects of daily life, including aspects that were previously impossible to enter, like jails. In correctional facilities, any form of modern communication is initially prohibited.

But what do we watch today? Well, jails precisely provide a bridge for communication between prisoners and their families and friends through updated communication devices—a chirp phone is one of them.

As long as a jail collaborates with a company that provides prison communication systems, every inmate in the prison can use them. Then, explain what the chirp phone is and how it works. Let’s discover it below!

What is a Chirp Phone to Be?

What is a Chirp Phone in Jail

A chirp phone, also known as a chirping device, is a communication tool that inmates can use to send text messages to their families and friends. Several communications companies, which specifically provide prison communications systems, have launched this chirping device with almost the same features.

This chirping device cannot be used to send photos or videos, but one of the companies, like Securus Technologies, has installed a few media entertainment features inside, such as music, films, games, and other free content that complies with prison policies, such as library and self-help materials.

One thing is for sure: the chirping device does not have access to the internet.

How Does a Chirp Phone Work?

Every inmate can use a chirping device after the facility agrees to a contract with the communication company that provides it. This contract usually contains the conditions for using this device, as well as the fees and profits that both the company and the facility will gain.

Reportedly, facilities that provide the chirping device have earned at least $800 to $1,000 per month after the contract runs. And they earn the profit from the fees that inmates spend to send messages.

Basically, the increase in the number of inmates using such devices has contributed to an increase in prison revenues to reduce the burden on taxpayers.

When it comes to the rules for charging the chirping device, it will depend on the facility. After being turned over to the jail officer, the device should normally be charged overnight. And the battery will last one day under moderate and heavy use. If the device is heavily used, it will be required to charge during the day, as long as the facility allows it.

Note: The chirp device is secured with a PIN that the inmate should enter anytime if they want to unlock it.

Why Can Inmates Use Chirp Phones?

Keith Oliver, commander of the Hancock County Jail, told the Daily Reporter that the provision of chirp phones aims to provide equal rights to incarcerated individuals to be able to enjoy technological developments, especially communications.

Oliver also revealed that this is one step closer for inmates to being able to keep up with technological developments and stay on track. Otherwise, they may not be able to use any tools after leaving prison.

Oliver also emphasized that inmates who use the chirping device must follow a certain set of rules. For him, allowing prisoners to communicate more easily with their families and friends will help the entire incarceration process be as productive as possible and help them achieve success in their rehabilitation.

How to Use a Chirp Phone

In order to use a chirping message, inmates must usually make a request for this device. After the jail approves, they’ll have to sign first to confirm that they’re subject to the terms and services.

Then, the inmate must register by typing their name. If they succeed, the device will be unlocked, and it’s ready to use. But they should fund their account first within 3 days after they receive the device.

After they have a balance in their account, they can start sending text messages to anyone, as long as the inmates know their number.

    • First, type a new number, usually a 10-digit number, through the search box that can be found at the top of the chirping list.
    • Then, tap the number to start a new conversation.
    • The chirping device will then identify the inmate and the facility.

Some companies waive fees for the first five chirps that inmates send.

Inmates can also add a name to the number list by swiping on a contract row. In addition, they can also block someone’s number if they don’t want to send or receive a chirp again from them.

Through the “Account View” menu, inmates can also see their chirp phone number and account balance, as well as be able to send fund request messages, access support options, and review their transactions.

Fees to Use the Chirp Phone

The chirping device will charge a fee for each chirp sent, which is borne by the prisoner or his family.

On average, the device costs 10 cents for each text message. For both inbound and outbound messages, each chirp can contain up to 160 characters that inmates accept as a flat rate.

    • If inmates compose long texts, they will be split and billed as individual messages.
    • If inmates do not see an inbound message, they do not have to pay for the messages they send.

How to Add Funds to a Chirping Account

Before using the chirping device, inmates or their families should add funds to their chirping account. Depending on the communication companies, they will provide a way to add funds to the inmate’s chirping account directly on their official website.

If your loved one in jail uses a chirping device launched by Inmate Sales, you’ll have to do this through inmatesales.com. You may have to log into your inmate sales account first. Once logging in, you can select putting money on the inmate’s account. Inmate Sales may allow you to use a credit card to do so.

How to Return the Chirp Phone

The chirping device can only be used while imprisoned. That means if the inmates are released, the device should be returned.

If there’s any balance on an inmate’s account, it will remain on it. But if they come back to the facility, the funds can be available to you again.

If your incarcerated individual uses a chirping device from Inmate Sales, they can make a refund request by making a phone call at (877) 998-5678.

Cons of Using the Chirp Phone for Jails

There’s no doubt that chirping devices make everything so easy for inmates, especially communicating with people outside. But it doesn’t mean standing without obstacles.

Well, some facilities support the program of providing chirping devices for inmates, while others reject it since it can have a negative effect on both inmates and the prison environment.

For Oklahoma prisons, for example, free tablets often charge users above-market prices for their services, according to a 2019 report from the Prison Policy Initiative. Reportedly, Oklahoma’s contract with Securus Technologies allows fees of 75 cents for outgoing video messages and 25 cents for emails. Additionally, music can cost up to $1.99 per song or $14.99 per album, while the cost of an episode of television can range from $1.70 to $2.28.

In fact, the jails that provide chirping devices to inmates seem to struggle to fully monitor communications between inmates. However, this is one of the rules where inmates are not allowed to chirp other inmates, victims, witnesses, or any parties that are blocked by the facilities.

Even though the jails have access to all messages, the staff does not have time to read all of them that inmates sent through the chirping device. Instead, the jails mark certain words on each chirp, so that staff will only check chirps that contain those words.

When communication between inmates is established via a chirping device, they will communicate secretly between cells. Da does not rule out the possibility that they are planning riots or other coordinated actions so that chaos will occur at any time.

Consequences of Violating the Rules of Chirp Phone Use

As long as it meets the requirements in terms of use, meaning it doesn’t abuse it or commit any violations, inmates can purchase and keep it for the duration of their detention.

If the chirp device is destroyed, inmates will be charged about $200. They will be terminated from using the device at any time if they misbehave. In addition, there’s no rental adjustment or refund given to them.

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