voice jail system
n. A poorly designed voice mail system that leads you through a hopelessly complex set of choices, and that gives you no way to return to a previous menu if you make a mistake.
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According to operators, the problem is accelerating because calls to police precincts are sometimes answered by recordings. Too, cutbacks at agencies and the increasing popularity of voice-jail systems mean fewer humans are answering phones anywhere.
—Sheila Anne Feeney, “Phone-y emergencies tie up 911,” Daily News (New York), August 11, 1996
1989 (earliest)
VoiceCom users are issued a password and identification number and can direct messages to other members of the system.

"This is not your typical voice jail system that bounces your call all over the place," he said.
—Clifford Carlsen, “VoiceCom Joins British Telecom to Sell Abroad,” San Francisco Business Times, March 06, 1989
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