Charging inmates fees for this and that is a growing trend in prisons. As a case in point, Florida charges fees for both bank accounts and medical services. However, charging fees for visiting families is a new low.
The last statistics I saw on unemployed inmates at the time of the crimes was something like 70 plus percent were unemployed. My own sense is that inmate families also have a high poverty rate. Inmate families in the federal system tend to have a higher income level than those of the state prisons if the year and type of cars in the visitors parking lot tend to be a case in point.
My experience is that going into prison parking lots on work days will find rather new cars and in relatively good condition. However, go into a state prison parking lot on visitor days and you will find older models and less maintained condition.
Charging inmates fees for bank accounts, medical services, telephones and monopolistic prices on no bid canteen services is skewed logic that sells will during political campaigns but only serves to isolate mother from children in particular and families in general.
It is a fantasy to think that the inmates themselves have money. The money comes from families and relatives of inmates and they themselves will have to cut of telephonic contact and other supports while the inmates are in prison. This only further drives inmates into despair and desperation which finds expression inward as sadness, meloncoly, depression and suicide or outwards as anger, hostility and aggression.
About 50 percent of the women who are mothers will never get a visit from their children. While the times leading up to incarceration can be littered with wreckage from dysfunctional life styles, incarceration can be a time of healing and family reunification.(Houses of Healing) This can be and I have seen it to be also a period of intense healing/unification for mothers and their children. The telephone can be and is a critical link for mother child communications.