HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - A Huntsville woman is raising concerns with the Madison County Detention Center. She says jail administrators never gave her son his free first phone call during his recent arrest. She told WHNT NEWS 19 a recording played, during her son's call, asking for a credit card number. Linda Myer tried talking to jail managers about the costly phone call, but got nowhere.
Myer is upset for a couple of reasons. The first is the cost of the phone call. The second is the impression a person's refusal to pay gives to the inmate. Myer thinks the charge is stupid and only exists to pay excessive costs for the jail's construction bill. The mother tried telling the jail about the charge, but says no one listened.
Myer's son spent six days inside the Madison County Detention Center. He was arrested for an outstanding warrant relating to driving on expired car tags. Myer understood what was going on her phone rang.
"He tried to call home. He got about two seconds in, said 'Momma momma' and that was it. It said if you want to make a phone call, you need to pay $14.99," said Myer.
She did not pay the money required to continue the call.
"I'm going what, they said either put it on a credit card or set up an account with us. Well, I do not plan on having a revolving account with the jail," added Myer.
Myer said her son tried calling one more time, but the same thing happened. She started to worry.
"You know, hey, I am a momma. This is my kid, you know. All I could figure was that my kid was stuck in this horrible place," added Myer.
The concerned mother decided to call the jail to explain the issue.
"They said that is the only way you get to talk to him. If you don't, you don't. That's all there was to it," added Myer.
Myer was not satisfied. She clicked onto WHNT NEWS 19's 'Fighting for You' page to share her experience.
"I'm thinking he is thinking that I am refusing the phone call," added Myer.
WHNT NEWS 19's Venton Blandin asked Myer why she called the station.
"I think it is ridiculous. I think charging people $15 is ridiculous," added Myer.
WHNT NEWS 19 contacted the jail administrator to talk about Myer's concern. Chief Steve Morrison says Myer raised a "very good question." Chief Morrison replied to the email saying he had reviewed the jail's policy and found inmate's were being charged to make their call. Chief Morrison said he was not aware of that policy until the station asked about it.
The chief plans to make a change to that policy. The chief is talking with Madison County Sheriff Blake Dorning about a possible change. WHNT NEWS 19 is working with the chief on this story and will report the chief's decision as soon as it is made.