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[asterisk-biz] Asterisk for Inmate Communication Services?

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dougmig33 at yahoo.com

PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 12:11 am    Post subject: [asterisk-biz] Asterisk for Inmate Communication Services? Reply with quote

I worked for a payphone operator that had ported a large number of their pay phones in prisons over to an ATA/DSL. I think they eventually pulled them out because not a single ITSP could deliver dial around compensation reliably over to the destination POTS carrier. Without that, the company did not receive a portion of the revenue from the 800 numbers (calling cards) the prisoners would always use. Actually it wasn't just a problem in prisons, but in the few thousand other ATA's with DSL they had deployed. Oops!


----- Original Message ----
From: Harry McGregor <hmcgregor@espri.arizona.edu>
To: Commercial and Business-Oriented Asterisk Discussion <asterisk-biz@lists.digium.com>
Sent: Tuesday, February 26, 2008 6:11:40 PM
Subject: Re: [asterisk-biz] Asterisk for Inmate Communication Services?

Hopefully some of this will help others here.

I helped with an Asterisk deployment in a law office rather recently,
and it was a ton of headaches.

The biggest issue is that we switched them from Qwest pots to Time
Warner Telecom ISDN PRI.

On the Qwest Pots service they could received collect calls from a
specific prison. Time Warner does not permit 3rd party collect call

Most people don't need this and don't care, and it is normally not a big
deal, and more of a fraud prevention issue than anything else.

Of course most of our problem was communication.

Client called us and said that they "could not received collect calls",
so we went back and forth with our sales rep and TWTC Noc trying to
trace this down, and tested collect calls, etc, without issues. We
reported to the client that we could not find an issue with collect calls.

Client called again, with collect call issues, this time mentioned it
was a prison. We tracked down all of the prison calling services we
could, CBS was the main one, and setup for them to get direct billed.
Thought issue was solved.

Called again with this issue. After some teeth pulling, we find out
exactly which prison it is, and what the recorded message they got
said. Talked with this specific billing company, they ONLY do prepaid,
or third party billing via your dial tone provider.

We also found this in the CDR, which helped us find the billing contact...

2007-xx-xx xx:xx:xx
928428xxxx "INTEGRETELARIZO" <928428xxxx> xxxx

So all in all, it took about 30 hours of our time, plus TWTC times,
including the area sales manager, and a director in the NOC, to find out
that because the 3rd party billing, nothing could really be solved.

The lawyer refused to open the prepaid account, said the client could
write a letter instead, and is still thinking of moving back to Qwest
due to the issue. $50 dropped into a prepaid account vs 30+
non-billable hours over the course of two months...

Prison phone systems make the prison system a lot of money, and the
billing companies are more concerned with fraud prevention then enabling
clients to talk with their lawyers.

Problem processor:
Integretel Inc. and the billing processor is IPS.

IPS - 1-888-506-8407 (24/hour service number)

The account can be setup with any major credit card (other options
include Western Union....)
If you add $50 or more to the prepaid account at one time, you avoid
the $4.99 processing fee.
If at any point you decide you wish a refund of the remaining
balance of the prepaid account, IPS has a $2.99 processing fee for the

Problem prison:
Grahm County correctional, Arizona

Easy billing provider to work with (they will do invoicing for law
firms, etc):
Correctional Billing Service 1-800-844-6591

All in all, if you do any work for a law firm and don't use an ILEC,
expect to run into issues, as every prison is different, and will cause
you headaches.


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