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United Way of Lancaster County


County extends prison phone contract, lowers rates

(Source: Securus Technologies)

Inmates at Lancaster County Prison will pay less for their phone calls for the next couple of years.

On Wednesday, the county commissioners approved a two-year contract with the prison’s telephone vendor, Securus Technologies. Under it, calling rates will drop from their existing levels, which range from 17 cents to 25 cents per minute, to a flat 15 cents per minute, a savings of 12% to 40%.

As county Purchasing Director Linda Schreiner explained at January’s Prison Board meeting, the contract extension allows Securus to continue providing phone service until the county is ready to move into the new correctional facility it is planning in Lancaster Township.

The alternative — putting the contract out to bid, potentially securing a new vendor that would install a new system — didn’t make sense given the short time the prison will remain in use, Schreiner said.

The contract with Securus now runs to September 2026. The county has the option of two further one-year extensions if necessary, Schreiner said.

As is the case across Pennsylvania, the County Prison earns a substantial commission on telephone revenue. Under the previous terms, its share was 88.4%; the extension reduces that to 81.5%. The contract had guaranteed the county at least $48,000 per month, which remains unchanged.

In 2022, the county’s commission averaged $78,067 per month, Schreiner said. Going forward, with the new rates and county percentage, it’s expected to drop by a little over $13,400, or 17%, to $64,700.

The commission goes toward the Inmate General Welfare Fund, which funds transportation services, reentry programs and other inmate services and amenities. It does not go toward staff or general operations.