He is in county jail and wants to call but the jail phones don’t allow collect calls out. You will need to open an account with whatever company the jail has a contract with. The following steps will help you get it done.
Call the jail: Ask the jail personnel what company the jail has contracted with for phone calls out. They will give you the name of the company and the number to call to set up the account.
Debit card: If possible, put money on a debit card or have a credit card ready to use. Most companies that contract with the jail will also take mailed in checks and money orders but there can be a two week to one month delay for that money to be applied. A debit or credit card provides instant access.
Set amount: The company typically has a minimum number of minutes that you must put on the account each time you purchase time. Twenty-five or $50 is the usual minimum. It makes its money by charging a small connection fee and then a set amount per 10 or 15 minute call.
Accept the call: When the call comes in, before you can talk to your inmate, a machine will ask you to press a number if you are willing to accept the call from the jail. Once your time talking is almost up, a recorded voice will tell you that the call will end in one minute. There is no way to extend the call. He will have to call you again once the call has ended.
Three way: All of the jail approved phone companies prohibit three-way calling. If the system detects a three-way call it will disconnect the call. This can happen from interference on the lines even if you aren’t on a three way call.
Refund: If he is released before your account has been depleted, you can call or write the phone company and request a refund. The money is usually refunded in six-to-eight weeks.
Final thoughts: Jail calls to another state can be very expensive. It is often worth the cost to obtain a cell phone with a number from the same county that the jail is in so the calls become local. For example, you live in New York but he got arrested in Florida. If you obtain a cell phone with a number from the same county in Florida that the jail is in, his calls to you will be billed as local even though you are living in New York.