Inmate calling plans allowed by the Federal Communications Commission include traditional collect calls and debit or pre-paid calls. Inmate calling service providers may also offer additional services, such as voicemail, video calls and a telephone relay service that allows people with speech or hearing disabilities to receive and place calls.
A traditional collect call allows inmates to call specific numbers and have the receiving party pay for the call charges by having the bill charged to the receiver's telephone monthly bill. Depending on the facility, the inmates may place a limited number of collect calls per month. ICS providers may require a contract with the receiver's local telephone company to connect the call.
A debit or pre-paid call plan gives inmates the freedom and ability to pay for their own telephone calls. The family or friends of an inmate may need to set up and fund the inmate's account through approved funding options, such as money transfers or through debit or credit card funds. An inmate with a debit call plan may call anyone on his approved list of contacts. Some ICS providers, such as SECURUS, offer the same service to the inmate's families and friends, allowing the receiving parties to receive collect calls and pay for the call charges through a debit or pre-paid account.