TDCJ Frequently Asked Questions
How much does a call cost?
Rates vary depending upon if you live in or outside of Texas. For specific rates, click here.
When will I get my first call?
Unfortunately there is no easy answer. There are three main steps:
- Your name must match your driver's license or State ID and your phone bill.
- You must register and be approved to receive calls.
- The offender enrolls in the voice biometrics system and is eligible to make calls. The whole process can take 7-30 days depending on timing and resource availability.
I was approved to receive calls, but I have not received any. Why?
There are a number of reasons this may be occurring. Some include:
- the unit was on lockdown when he/she wanted to call you
- no one was home to press # 1 and accept the call. (Offenders cannot leave voice messages)
Can I add money to an Offender's Debit Account?
Yes you can! For details click here.
My offender says that when he calls me the recording says my phone is restricted, why?
There are a couple of possibilities:
I only have a cell phone, how can I receive calls?
TDCJ now allows offenders to call post-paid cell phones. Please call the enrollment center if you wish to register a post-paid cell phone.
How many minutes does my offender have to use each month?
Offenders now have unlimited monthly minutes.
What happens if I reach the credit limit on my Direct Bill Account before my next bill arrives?
If you reach your credit limit and have not made a payment on your account, your phone number is blocked and offenders cannot call you. Simply contact CBS and make a payment and your line will be unblocked and ready for you to receive calls.
For friends and family Prepaid Accounts, there is no credit limit. You must have funds in the account to receive calls.
What happens if I don't pay my Direct Bill Account invoice when it is due?
If you have a Direct Bill Account, your credit limit every month is $85.00 which will be increased to $200.00 after 90 days if the account is kept current and you have paid your invoices in full on time. If you only spend half of your credit limit on the calls you receive, you will be billed for that amount and you can continue to receive calls and spend up to your total credit limit.
You must pay your bill on or before the due date or your line will be blocked and your Direct Bill Account will be automatically converted to a Friend & Family Prepaid Account. You will not be able to receive calls until you pay the past due charges. And, all future calls you receive must be paid for in advance using your Friend & Family Prepaid Account.
What can I do to prevent calls from being blocked?
To ensure you can always receive calls, add more funds than you expect to use for the month. For example, make a payment higher than the minimum amount on the bill. If you don't use the minutes this month, you can use it next month. When the offender is released or you close your account, you can request a refund of all unused phone time in your CBS account. Note: Unused funds placed in an offender's account are refunded to the offender upon release.
Can I transfer funds from my other CBS account to my TDCJ account?
Yes. You can move funds between your TDCJ and non-TDCJ accounts; however, you cannot transfer funds in and out of an Offender Debit Account. You can fund an Offender prepaid account directly, but not perform transfers.
I'm not getting calls. Is my offender suspended?
To find out if your offender has been suspended from phone privileges, contact the TDCJ unit where the offender resides.
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