Tex. Gov't Code Section 495.027
Inmate Pay Telephone Service


The board shall request proposals from private vendors for a contract to provide pay telephone service to eligible inmates confined in facilities operated by the department. The board may not consider a proposal or award a contract to provide the service unless under the contract the vendor:


provides for installation, operation, and maintenance of the service without any cost to the state;


pays the department a commission of not less than 40 percent of the gross revenue received from the use of any service provided;


provides a system with the capacity to:


compile approved inmate call lists;


verify numbers to be called by inmates, if necessary;


oversee entry of personal identification numbers;


use a biometric identifier of the inmate making the call;


generate reports to department personnel on inmate calling patterns; and


network all individual facility systems together to allow the same investigative monitoring from department headquarters that is available at each facility;


provides on-site monitoring of calling patterns and customizes technology to provide adequate system security;


provides a fully automated system that does not require a department operator;


provides for periodic review by the state auditor of documents maintained by the vendor regarding billing procedures and statements, rate structures, computed commissions, and service metering;


ensures that a ratio of not greater than 30 eligible inmates per communication device is maintained at each facility;


ensures that no charge will be assessed for an uncompleted call and that the charge for local calls will not be greater than the highest rate for local calls for inmates in county jails; and


ensures that each eligible inmate or person acting on behalf of an eligible inmate may prepay for the service.


The board shall award a contract to a single private vendor to install, operate, and maintain the inmate pay telephone service. The initial term of the contract may not be less than seven years. The contract must provide the board with the option of renewing the contract for additional two-year terms.


The department shall transfer 50 percent of all commissions paid to the department by a vendor under this section to the compensation to victims of crime fund established by Subchapter J (Definition), Chapter 56B (Crime Victims’ Compensation), Code of Criminal Procedure, and the other 50 percent to the credit of the undedicated portion of the general revenue fund, except that the department shall transfer the first $10 million of the commissions collected in any given year under a contract awarded under this section to the compensation to victims of crime fund established by Subchapter J (Definition), Chapter 56B (Crime Victims’ Compensation), Code of Criminal Procedure. This section does not reduce any appropriation to the department.


Subject to board approval, the department shall adopt policies governing the use of the pay telephone service by an inmate confined in a facility operated by the department, including a policy governing the eligibility of an inmate to use the service. The policies adopted under this subsection may not unduly restrict calling patterns or volume and must allow for an average monthly call usage rate of eight calls, with each call having an average duration of not less than 10 minutes, per eligible inmate.


The department shall ensure that the inmate is allowed to communicate only with persons who are on a call list that is preapproved by the department. Except as provided by Subsection (f), the department shall ensure that all communications under this section are recorded and preserved for a reasonable period of time for law enforcement and security purposes. A recording under this subsection is excepted from disclosure under Chapter 552 (Public Information).


The department shall ensure that no confidential attorney-client communication is monitored or recorded by the department or any person acting on the department’s behalf and shall provide to the vendor the name and telephone number of each attorney who represents an inmate to ensure that communication between the inmate and the attorney is not monitored or recorded.
Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 100 (S.B. 1580), Sec. 1, eff. May 15, 2007.
Renumbered from Government Code, Section 495.025 (Certain Commissary Contracts; Taste Tests) by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 87 (S.B. 1969), Sec. 27.001 (Bond)(33), eff. September 1, 2009.
Amended by:
Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1051 (H.B. 4583), Sec. 12(a), eff. June 19, 2009.
Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1234 (S.B. 1844), Sec. 1, eff. June 19, 2009.
Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 469 (H.B. 4173), Sec. 2.46, eff. January 1, 2021.

Source: Section 495.027 — Inmate Pay Telephone Service, https://statutes.­capitol.­texas.­gov/Docs/GV/htm/GV.­495.­htm#495.­027 (accessed Jun. 5, 2024).

Jun. 5, 2024

§ 495.027’s source at texas​.gov