View Full Version : USE the MAGIC JACK WORKS-SAVE money on (PRISON) phone calls!!!


sugarsmack75
02-15-2009, 11:45 AM
For anyone who's been wondering about the MAGIC JACK & if would work for prison phone calls, I'm so happy to tell you YES it does! It also SAVES me a whole bunch of MONEY!!! i 'm so overjoyed i had to pass on the info to others who may be in the same boat-meaning i dont live local to the prison where my loved one is, & long distance charges are astronomical. I live in NC, he's in SSCF-delmont,nj. Before the magic jack, i'd pay my GTL prepay account $25 or $50 dollars -they take 19% ($4.75 of my $25 payment:angry:) which is ridiculous highway robbery. i did find out that if you mail a payment in you can avoid this charge, but when i mail a payment in it takes weeks, once it took 2 months for them to get the money to my account [ but it took about 5 days for them to cash my check]
Now after they take their piece, the call itself would cost $15-17 depending on the time of the day & such, so ONE sad 15 minute call cost on avg, $20. I could only afford to talk to him once or maybe twice a month,:cloud:and that sucks!
SO:idea: i got the MAGIC JACK. You can choose a phone number from area code they have service, regardless of your address. It uses the same technology as vonage, but rather than a monthly charge, you pay once a year. The first year includes the cost of the actual device, but your first year of service is free. It cost me $39 this year, next year it will cost $19. $19/ year!!! unlimited long distance anytime. it has call waiting, call forwarding, voicemail, all the usual stuff. Also, you can change your number when you no longer need the local prison area code, which is free the first time you need to do this. what you do need to have is a PC computer and internet /or access to both. you can forward the call to a cell phone or other phone line if need be, although, forwarding prison calls and using cells comes w/ its own risk, but i know many people still do it w/out any issue. If you set your magicjack to forward calls, it does not need to be plugged into a computer at all [once its been set up]!
YES, i still have to use GTL, i set up a second prepay account w/my new magic jack phone number which is local to the prison. The cost of a 15 min call from SSCF through the magic jack- $2.36! :thumbsup: IN just 2 phone calls i have saved enough money that the magicjack has nearly paid for itself! i can get 6-7 calls for the amount it used to cost for 1. NOw that my money goes further, mailing payments in wont be as big a deal b/c my money will last so much longer. Now can call me twice a week for a month on $25 :D and that sucks much less!!!
I highly recommend Mjack to anyone who NEEDS a local number to save money, but cant afford to have another monthly bill, or sign a service contract, or a way to save money on phone service period.
I hope this helps someone out there. if anyone has any other questions i am more than happy to help as best i can.

PrincessSBZ
02-15-2009, 12:58 PM
I have a question..when my bf was in SSCF i just changed my cell to an 856 number and it was like 3 or 4 for 15 (props to you for saving) but now he is in a halfway in newark and i changed my cell and it's crazy expensive..how do they ensure it's a LOCAL number...the hwh uses PCS and they dont' make sense..i kept my 856 number when he went to trenton, and taht was LOCAL! but now a 973 to newark isn't local? Would the magic jack help me? I guess I have to set up my own landline, since I use my Mom's and she won't change...

ForMyBoy
02-15-2009, 01:09 PM
How did you get the prison to approve the local number when you don't have a local address?
Many have been denied because the address supplied with the phone has to have a valid local address inthe same area code.

PrincessSBZ
02-15-2009, 01:23 PM
I had no problem thankfully when he down state..mine went through automatically..and in assessment and halfway they didn't ask for a list...

sugarsmack75
02-15-2009, 02:44 PM
first, FORMYBOY- the different area code verses address thing, can be an issue, and it was for me too, at least i think that was the problem, i just had my boy resubmit it again, and i told him that i was using a service like vonage, if that made a difference, maybe he made a note of that on his forms when he submitted the number the second time [which is what i told him to do] also he said he was gonna talk to someone, but whether it was someone "official" or someone who knew someone, and he sort of networked his way to it, i dont know. the only other thing i can think of is that when they check your phone number, the number a nd address submitted on the form by the inmate has to match the address they pull up when they cross check the number, and has less to do with area codes matching addresses. All i know is that persistence is the key. If it got denied again, i would have called or written to someone at the prison being as polite and professional as possible, to see what i could do to clarify the issue. Of course i did ask my man if it would bother him if i did that and he didn't care. I don't want to make things harder for him in the long run, BUT i do know that people do it all the time and it goes thru the first time, so i wasn't gonna give up. Personally i think they do stuff like that on purpose, like filing insurance forms, thinking you'll give up if they deny you the first time. ya know, Less work for them at the time, but they don't want you to become a head for them either so they pass it thru the 2nd time, in the mean time, they get a whole 3 months worth of high priced call out of you while you wait...its like a conspiracy...

to PRINCESS- Im a bit confused on your question. Yes i think a Mjack could possibly help, but i don't understand your situation. can he have one at the halfway house? If he can have one there, all he'd have to do is plug it into the USB port on the PC there and set it up , you can plug any regular phone into it, one end USB, and the other has a good old fashioned phone jack. If someone youknow has a pc and internet access you can use, you can do the same. before i bought the Mjack, i searched their list of areas they covered, certain area codes cover several towns, so i chose the section the (856) vineland exchange, you would choose whatever exchange is physically closest to the HWH your man is in. I dont know how much your calls are at the moment, but for me the savings was so huge that even if my calls were still 8-10 bucks a piece it would still be saving me money, just not as much as id like. the nice thing is that since youdont have to wait 3 months for a number to be approved, so you caould take advantage of the 30 day free trial. the number for it can be changed when he moves out of the half way house, and you can also forward calls to a regular lan line or cell and when its forwarding calls it doesn't need to be plugged in. does that help at all? feel free to PM and i will try to help you sort it out, i can even look up some stuff as far as area codes or as the live help techs if you like. i do think it a really helpful gadget for just about anyone, and like i said, for me it paid for itself in 3 calls. i love the fact that i dont have a bill coming in every month no worries about extra charges, anytime anywhere unlimited minutes and long distance in the continental US. save on cell phone minutes too. let me know if i can help you any further.

PrincessSBZ
02-16-2009, 11:27 AM
No I wasn't asking if he could have one for himself at the halfway, I was asking if I got one for myself (I'm in FL he's in NJ) would it cut the cost of calls. The halfway house uses PCS and even though I got an area code that is "local" to the HWH, it's still very expensive per call. I just signed up with vonage...and they gave me a landline number that is only going to cost me 1.48 to connect and .3 per minute there after. With my cell phone it was costing me 2.68 to connect and .22 per minute. I was curious about magic jack before I singed up for vonage...now I see magic jack has no monthly fee...can you forward calls to your cell?

MrsPhil
02-16-2009, 01:37 PM
For anyone who's been wondering about the MAGIC JACK & if would work for prison phone calls, I'm so happy to tell you YES it does! It also SAVES me a whole bunch of MONEY!!! i 'm so overjoyed i had to pass on the info to others who may be in the same boat-meaning i dont live local to the prison where my loved one is, & long distance charges are astronomical. I live in NC, he's in SSCF-delmont,nj. Before the magic jack, i'd pay my GTL prepay account $25 or $50 dollars -they take 19% ($4.75 of my $25 payment:angry:) which is ridiculous highway robbery. i did find out that if you mail a payment in you can avoid this charge, but when i mail a payment in it takes weeks, once it took 2 months for them to get the money to my account [ but it took about 5 days for them to cash my check]
Now after they take their piece, the call itself would cost $15-17 depending on the time of the day & such, so ONE sad 15 minute call cost on avg, $20. I could only afford to talk to him once or maybe twice a month,:cloud:and that sucks!
SO:idea: i got the MAGIC JACK. You can choose a phone number from area code they have service, regardless of your address. It uses the same technology as vonage, but rather than a monthly charge, you pay once a year. The first year includes the cost of the actual device, but your first year of service is free. It cost me $39 this year, next year it will cost $19. $19/ year!!! unlimited long distance anytime. it has call waiting, call forwarding, voicemail, all the usual stuff. Also, you can change your number when you no longer need the local prison area code, which is free the first time you need to do this. what you do need to have is a PC computer and internet /or access to both. you can forward the call to a cell phone or other phone line if need be, although, forwarding prison calls and using cells comes w/ its own risk, but i know many people still do it w/out any issue. If you set your magicjack to forward calls, it does not need to be plugged into a computer at all [once its been set up]!
YES, i still have to use GTL, i set up a second prepay account w/my new magic jack phone number which is local to the prison. The cost of a 15 min call from SSCF through the magic jack- $2.36! :thumbsup: IN just 2 phone calls i have saved enough money that the magicjack has nearly paid for itself! i can get 6-7 calls for the amount it used to cost for 1. NOw that my money goes further, mailing payments in wont be as big a deal b/c my money will last so much longer. Now can call me twice a week for a month on $25 :D and that sucks much less!!!
I highly recommend Mjack to anyone who NEEDS a local number to save money, but cant afford to have another monthly bill, or sign a service contract, or a way to save money on phone service period.
I hope this helps someone out there. if anyone has any other questions i am more than happy to help as best i can.

In theory this is a great idea. But as you say in your post using a cell phone comes with a risk. If you read the prison handbook, cell phones are not allowed. But that is a whole other story. And I know many of you get numbers for the area code of the prison your men are in,if they find that your number does not match your address he can lose his phone privilages. And not just to you but to any one on his list. I know the price of our calls are rediculous. Mine are $7.75 for 15 min. But we would rather have less calls than take the chance of losing our calls altogether.Ok. Time for Andrea to shut up here! LOL We are all grown women. I just hate to see anyone lose calls! :(

sugarsmack75
02-16-2009, 04:23 PM
Hi Mrs.Phil- yes there the issue of cell phones, but you dont have to have your calls forwarded to your cell, that is just a feature. when i'm home i have the Mjack plugged into a USB hub- its sort of like a jump drive, one end goes into the usb port, and the other end has an actual phone jack, so i have a lan line cordless phone plugged into it. when i travel, and stay somewhere with internet access, or use a wireless network, i plug ithe Mjack into my computer, that the hotel phone out of the wall jack, plug it into the magic jack, and i dont have to miss a call. Now when i have emergencies and such, i do have it forward any and all calls to my cell phone. You only have to take the cell phone risk if you want to. it does not tie up you internet line either, i keep using the net just as always. Its very handy, when im home i can forward my cell phone to my magic jack number i have cut down on my cell phone minutes. Mjack doesn't charge by the minute, so theres no issue. i suppose if you forward the calls to your cell phone and you take calls during peak hours then you have to consider the cell charges, but you'd be paying for those minutes not matter who the call came from so its not that much of an issue.
This girl is not putting my boy's phone privileges at risk, so no worries. The address i use for my magic jack number is my own, when you sign up you get to pick the area code you want, but your address is still listed with the number you are assigned. it doesn't matter when you use this sort of technology because there are no connection or minute charges. its flat fee, once a year, to use their network. since the charge is the same for everyone regardless of location, you get to option of choosing your desired area code. he did have to submit the number twice, but the first time it was written down messed up, or i gave it to him wrong. the 2nd time there were no issues- its all on the up and up, so im not the least bit concerned about losing my talk time. ugh i'd cry...besides the reason hes in there is because he thought he could live outside the law w/out consequence b/c he was never gonna get caught. it may have taken years to get there, but that path started w/ a gradual step to the left, degree by degree he ended up going the opposite way he'd intended. im not gonna encourage him to start bending rules, i just want him to take the path of least resistance while hes there and then come on home to join the world- where he belongs.


HI PrincessSBZ- yes, you can forward call to your cell and vice versa, you get voice mail and all that. you do still have to set up a prepay account thru GTL if he calls you collect b/c they dont charge for connection and all that. the only charge i pay w/ my vineland exchange number is the gtl charges- less than $2.50 a call. if you go to the GTL site and look in the help/FAQ section, you can see of they offer service in the town/area code his HWH is in. i dont know how the phone system is in the HWH, or if he can us a calling card or whatever. its too bad he could have A Mjack there. he could plug it into the usb in their computer and you to could talk as much as you wanted w/no other charges but the cost of the the Mjack.
Its just an option that i found really works well for me, and is very affordable. its not perfect for everyone and is w/out its issues. i just dont have any complaints at the moment. since you dont have to wait 3 months to get a phone number approved, take advantage of the 30 day trial thing. Do make sure you understand what it requires to work, and all that. understand they put a hold on your credit card for the price of it when you order it, and if you return it w/in the time allotted they lift the hold on your card. since you have vonage now, maybe that will be ok, if not, you can always give Mjack a shot later. just make sure they have service in the area you need it before you order. You figure it out- where theres a will...

MrsPhil
02-16-2009, 04:55 PM
I understand what you are saying about it still being your address. What I am saying is that if they check, and your area code does not match your address that is whenthere is a problem. For instance when MrPhil was moved from South Woods to Rahway before all of these other things like majic jack came out, I got a remote number through Verizon with an area code for Rahway. They would not approve that number on his phone list because it was a Rahway number and a Vineland address. I mean it doesn't matter to me what any one does to save a few bucks, God knows we all need to do that. I am just saying that we would rather have a few lesss calls than risk losing our calls altogether. And in his 26 years in prison he has seen it happen.

sugarsmack75
02-17-2009, 02:03 PM
I appreciate what you're saying & i have a lil bit of concern now. i assume its legal-they approved everything-they have both my #s, both w/ my name, both w/the same address, but 2 different area codes-I followed their rules,as far as i know. MAYBE their system's finally starting to catch up w/ technology so its less of an issue-Or maybe they're trying to be conscious of economic hard times-less calls means less $ for them too, right? Prison is still a business. when they run number checks they're cross referencing the name on the address & the name on the number all jive & belong to the individual submitted on the inmate's form- Technology makes it much harder for people to disappear these days. They want to make sure you are calling from where you say you are. They want to be able to find you if they catch any plotting and scheming on the lines, or if an inmate or parolee goes awol- thats how i understand it.
BUT you said it-they can giveth & they can taketh away...the thing is, if they want to make life harder for an inmate, take away privileges or whatever, they'll do it anyway- no matter what your phone situation is-just because they can. so on some level, you cant win anyway.
im sure when you're waiting down such a long stretch, the repercussions of losing any amount of contact privileges would resonate for so much longer, the fear of losing it must be huge, i can only imagine, 5 years of this prison mess is about more than i can stand. Props to you.
for now, Im gonna keep using my Mjack number, but i'll definitely find out exactly what the rules & issues are to insure we aren't risking his phone privileges. Thanks for your concern!

MrsPhil
02-17-2009, 05:06 PM
Well you are right about one thing, they don't do anything to amke things easier for us and I doubt the economic issue bothers them. Some prisons pay more attention than others. And believe me if he would go along with it I would be the first to get a local number. Good thing he is a little more level headed than I am! And whether we are doing five years or fifty years with our men it is not an easy life. We have to be strong women!