Detainees should be allowed to make and receive as many telephone calls as they can afford and is practicable. An initial call upon arrival to inform family and friends should be at the expense of the state. In the case of indigent detainees, consideration should be given to waiving or reducing call costs so they are not deprived of contact with the outside world.
Making and receiving calls may be restricted on operational grounds. Calls may be limited to certain times during the day, although there should be some flexibility for detainees that have family or friends in different time zones (for example, foreign nationals) or after working hours, as detainees (often women) may have family that are not home until later. The duration of calls may also be restricted to ensure all detainees have equal opportunity to access the phone.
There should be an appropriate number of telephones provided so that detainees are not forced to wait long periods to use the phone. Consideration should be given to appropriate positioning of telephones: they should be freely accessible by all, including detainees with a disability, and ideally in an area that affords some privacy. However, the telephone should not be located such that other detainees can bully or intimidate those using the phone or demand payment in return for telephone use.