TX Inmate Phone System Begins

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ Most Texas inmates, for the first time, are being allowed to make routine phone calls.

The prison board was told today that the first of a planned systemwide program of phone service began this week at the Henley State Jail in Dayton. The system is being phased in this year throughout the 112 units of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, via a contract is with a Kansas telecommunications firm.

The nation's most restrictive telephone policy for prisoners is ending for an estimated 120,000 inmates. They'll be allowed up 120 minutes of prepaid and collect calls each month. Three more units Vance, in Fort Bend County; Luther, in Grimes County; and Hobby, in Falls County get the phone service next week. They're among 13 scheduled for service in April. Another 31 units become active in May. The whole system should be up by September.