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N4T Investigators: Jail calls cause alarm - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

N4T Investigators: Jail calls cause alarm

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Tucson - Adrienne Barker recently received an alarming call on her cell phone while driving home from work. "I heard that it was from what I thought was a prison because it said it was an inmate calling me.The first thought was, which of my kids is in prison?," Barker told the News 4 Tucson Investigators.

None of Barker's children were or are incarcerated. The caller ID showed a 520 area code. We called it. It was a recorded message from Global Tel Link, a phone provider for the Pima County Jail and many other correctional facilities nationwide.

We asked Capt. Sean Stewart of the Sheriff's Department, "How are people who have no one incarcerated getting these calls?" He said, "Inmates mis-dial. Just like anybody else in the public." 

In other words, Capt. Stewart says,  the calls are not part of any scam, they are simply a case of inmates dialing the wrong phone number. We saw that happen while we were in the jail working on this story. 

Most jail inmates here are not convicted; they are awaiting trial. They are allowed unlimited calls, at 20 cents a minute, from the wall phones or their tablets, which by the way don't get the Internet. Stewart says the 1841 inmates here now made a total of 2338 calls yesterday. So, Stewart says, some wrong numbers are understandable. 

Stewart says, "A lot of people who get booked-in today, they don't even know their home phone numbers. They know it's number one on their cell phone. And sometimes they get arrested without their cell phones."

Think about it: in your cell phone contact list, how many numbers do you have memorized? 

Still, when you get a call from a jail, as Adrienne Barker says, "It catches you off guard."

Captain Stewart says, "If they're concerned they can always call us."

If you get one of these calls, of course you can call your loved ones and close friends to make sure none of them are incarcerated. You can also check the jail's web site and do an inmate look-up. 

If you have a story you'd like us to investigate, email us at investigators@kvoa.com, or call our tip line, 520-955-4444. 

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