Prison Phone Rates
Prisons throughout the country charge incarcerated individuals and their families significantly higher rates to stay in touch over the phone than what they would pay for a typical phone call. This practice – which occurs in forty-two states – can result in calls being as much as twenty-four times higher than standard rates, forcing many families to choose between talking to an incarcerated loved one and paying for necessities like food or medication.
The Leadership Conference, along with other civil rights leaders, media reform advocates, and criminal justice activists, are working together to urge the FCC to address long distance rates, as well as set the stage for state action on local rates. A petition pending at the Federal Communications Commission since 2003 seeks a cap on long distance rates, among other things. The FCC’s grant of this petition would immediately impact long distance prison rates and would provide a strong impetus to the 42 states that have not yet acted to remedy their own local prison telephone rates.
August 22, 2013 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
By Taahira Thompson, a Summer 2013 Intern
After more than a decade of advocacy by civil rights organizations and affected individuals, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to reform predatory prison phone rates on August 9. The rule puts a cap on how much prison phone-service providers can charge the recipients of an inmate’s call at 25 cents-per-minute. The FCC also banned the providers from charging extra fees to connect a call or use a calling card.
Civil Rights Groups and Conservative Leaders Urge FCC to End Practice of Predatory Prison Phone Rates
May 21, 2012 - Posted by Avril Lighty
Media Justice Fund of the Funding Exchange, "Criminal Charges: Excessive Prison Phone Rates Take a Toll on Innocent Families," April 29, 2009
American Bar Association detailed legal memo supporting its 2005 resolution favoring the lowest possible rates for prisoners.
In The News
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