Commonly Asked Questions & Answers About Inmate Phones
Ongoing contact with supportive family and friends is an important part of an inmate’s success in prison and upon release. The Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) is committed to providing the best possible inmate telephone service at the most reasonable cost per call.
This FAQ includes information about the inmate telephone system, answers common questions, and offers solutions to common problems. Telmate has contracted to provide phone service to all DOC facilities. The Telmate system offers several calling programs, including Preview Plus, Prepaid Calling, Inmate Voicemail and more.
Who is the telephone service provider for the Oregon DOC?
Telmate is the exclusive service provider for inmate phone calls at all Oregon DOC facilities. You can contact their bi-lingual customer service representatives with any questions at 1.866.516.0115.
How do I put money onto an inmate’s account?
There are several ways you can deposit funds to an inmate’s phone and/or trust account through Telmate.
Telmate lobby kiosks. You can go to any facility in Oregon or Idaho (including county and city jails) that has Telmate as its provider (see all locations here) and deposit funds using cash, credit or debit card (Visa or MasterCard only).
Telmate website. Go to www.telmate.com and deposit using a credit or debit card (Visa, MasterCard, AMEX and Discover credit cards only).
Over the phone. You can call Telmate customer service and an agent will gladly assist you with your deposit. Telmate customer service can be reached at 1.866.516.0115.
Inmate trust transfer. Inmates can also transfer funds from their trust (commissary) account to their prepaid calling account.
Money Order. To add funds to an inmate’s account using a money order, please include the following information:
· Inmate’s name
· Inmate’s SID number
· Your name
· Your address
· Your phone number
· Where you want the funds deposited (i.e. inmate’s prepaid phone account, inmate’s trust account or your prepaid phone account)
Send completed money order to:
PO Box 1137
Fruitland, ID 83619-1137
MoneyGram. You can purchase a MoneyGram at any Walmart, KMart, 7-11 and at select grocery stores and gas stations – just give them Telmate’s Express Service Payment Form Receive Code: 7163. Once you purchase a MoneyGram, call Telmate’s customer service team at 1.866-516.0115 and provide them with your receipt number.
Can I deposit funds for an inmate’s trust (commissary) account through Telmate?
Yes, you can deposit trust funds for an inmate directly through Telmate. You can deposit any amount up to $300.
Are there fees for depositing money to an inmate’s account?
There are no fees for depositing money to an inmate’s phone account. There are fees for depositing money to an inmate’s trust account through Telmate, as follows:
Cash: $2.50 per transaction
Credit/Debit: $4.50 per transaction
Live Operator Trust Transactions: $5.50 per transaction
Can I still deposit money to an inmate’s trust account directly through DOC?
Yes, DOC will still accept money orders and cashier’s checks for depositing funds to inmate trust accounts by mail and, until further notice, in person at the Dome Building (DOC Administration – 2575 Center Street NE in Salem). No fees will apply for money deposited through this method. Mail the money order/cashier's check to:
Central Trust, Inmate's Name and SID Number
Oregon Department of Corrections
PO Box 14400
Salem, OR 97309-5077
What is the maximum and minimum amount that I can deposit for prepaid phone time?
Currently, there is no maximum or minimum amount of money you can deposit for phone accounts. You can deposit as much or as little as you wish. For trust accounts, you can deposit any amount up to $300.
How do I send an inmate a voicemail?
You can leave a voicemail (up to 3 minutes in length) for $1.25 by calling 1.866.516.0115, pressing 4 and following the prompts.
What is Telmate Verified?
Telmate Verified is the way you, as well as your phone number, are approved to receive phone calls from inmates in Oregon DOC facilities. You must be Telmate Verified to receive phone calls and deposit funds for inmates.
How do I become Telmate Verified?
The first time an inmate calls you using the new Telmate system, you will be asked to enter some basic information that is then confirmed. Once you verify, you will not need to verify again. Additionally, you can verify yourself by setting up a free Telmate account through the Telmate website or at any Telmate payment kiosk. If you would like more information on Telmate Verified, click here to watch a short video.
How much will an inmate call cost?
No matter what facility an inmate lives in, the phone rates are the same statewide. The flat-rate structure includes all taxes and fees. There will be no additional taxes, no monthly maintenance fees, no bill statement fees and no deposit fees for phone accounts. The rates are:
All calls in the USA
Including collect & prepaid
$0.16 / minute
30 minute call = $4.80
20 minute call = $3.20
5 minute call = $0.80
Including Canada & Mexico
Including collect & prepaid
$0.50 / minute
30 minute call = $15.00
20 minute call = $10.00
5 minute call = $2.50
How long can a phone call last?
The maximum call length is 30 minutes. On average, inmate calls last 20 minutes.
My phone company said there were no blocks on my phone. Is the Oregon DOC blocking me?
Your phone company does not have access to information that will identify who blocked the phone from receiving inmate calls. If you feel your number is blocked, call the service provider at 1.866.516.0115 for more information.
How can I block my number from receiving inmate calls?
You can have your number blocked or unblocked by calling Telmate customer service at 1.866.516.0115.
Are three-way/conference calls allowed?
The phone system automatically detects instances of three-way calls and conference calls. Suspected three-way calls are flagged for review by a customer service representative, and if they are confirmed as a three-way call, a fee of $25 is assessed.
Am I allowed to forward calls?
Forwarding occurs any time a call is passed on to another location/number without the original destination remaining actively connected. This includes using phone forwarding features, phone company rerouting, rerouting services provided by outside companies, and similar services provided by VOIP phone providers.
Forwarded calls are treated the same as three-way/conference calls. If a forwarded call is confirmed, a fee of $25 is assessed.
Why can’t I receive inmate phone calls?
Inmates can only connect to numbers that are Telmate Verified. When an inmate calls you for the first time, the system will attempt to verify you. If you are unable to verify automatically, you can verify by filling out a form and sending in a copy of your ID.
Many phone carriers, including all cell phone carriers and VOIP services do not accept collect calls. If your phone service provider does not allow collect calls, you can still receive calls from DOC inmates by depositing funds into their prepaid account, or you can create a prepaid account for your phone number.
NOTE: Telmate allows a three minute complimentary free call when an inmate calls a number that does not accept collect calls.
How do I deal with the credit limit some phone carriers put on all new users who do not have service with them?
Most phone carriers have a monthly limit on collect calls that they will carry to non-customers. If you exceed the limit established, they will block further collect calls on their system for the rest of the billing cycle. You must contact them to increase this limit.
What drives the cost of inmate calls?
When phone companies bid on inmate phone contracts, they take operating costs into consideration. Equipment that supports security features for inmate phones can cost millions of dollars. Additionally, the phone company considers the cost of repairs, non-collected bills and fraud when establishing calling rates for inmate calls. Alternative types of calling plans currently offered in the community, if used in the correctional environment, would bypass mandatory security features, so they are not allowed by the Oregon Department of Corrections.
DOC will not answer questions about an inmate’s account. Inmate financial and calling list information is not available to the public. Inmates with questions about their PIN number or calling list should dial #211 from an inmate phone and leave a voice message for Telmate’s automated inmate customer service.