Your article “Call Waiting” (5/7) presented a one-sided view of the D.C. Jail inmates’ phone system. Here’s the other side:

Verizon has provided excellent pay-phone and inmate-phone service to the District government for many years under a contract that remains in effect until October 2004.

We understand and respect the city’s desire to upgrade its equipment and systems. In fact, last year we even offered, at no charge, the new equipment the District now is trying to install in its correctional facilities.

The District government certainly is aware that it can decide it no longer wants Verizon to provide inmate phone service. However, the government also is aware that it first must terminate its existing contract with us and that, like most contracts, that pact carries penalties for early termination.

Of course, Verizon wants to continue doing business with the District, and we remain willing to address any issues associated with the District’s inmate-communications needs.

Manager

Media Relations

Verizon Communications