Sometimes the little things can make a big difference. Supporters of those residing in the La Crosse County jail expect that will be the case with a recent decision by county government. The County Board of Supervisors has taken a big step by allowing jail inmates to use the jail telephone for free. La Crosse has had one of the state’s highest rates for using jail telephones, as much as $14 for a 15 minute phone call. Under legislation passed by the board this month, starting the first of the year, the cost of a phone call from jail inmates will go from 21 cents a minute to free. It is believed La Crosse is the first in Wisconsin to offer free use of the phone to jail inmates. The state is also considering capping the fees that local jails charge. But La Crosse didn’t just reduce the cost of making a call from behind bars, they eliminated it. Supporters say this will help not only those behind bars, but their family and friends on the outside. Most inmates who make calls call collect, forcing their loved ones to bear the cost. According to those who spoke in favor of the change, one in three families with an incarcerated loved one go into debt because of the cost of staying in touch. And experts say keeping in touch with loved ones helps inmates stay out of trouble when they are released. Kudos to La Crosse County for taking this bold step to help our most vulnerable.