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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Press Release - The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Prison Phone Rates | Civil and Human Rights Coalition Applauds Overdue FCC Move to Regulate Predatory Phone Rates for Families of the Incarcerated

For Immediate Release
Contact: Scott Simpson, 202.466.2061, simpson@civilrights.org
November 15, 2012

Washington, D.C. – Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement after Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski proposed that the commission regulate the predatory phone rates charged to families of the incarcerated:

“We are pleased that Chairman Genachowski has finally begun the process of regulating an industry that profits from recidivism and preys on low-income families.

After nearly a decade of advocacy for the FCC to act, Chairman Genachowski’s proposal is an important first step in the process for the full commission to lower rates for these families.

Having a child or parent in prison is a painful and difficult reality for millions of Americans and a phone call is often the only way for these families to maintain contact. But many prisons and phone companies view these intimate moments as opportunities to gouge families for an unfair profit, charging rates comparable to those charged for calling far-off places like Singapore.

Even worse, hindering these relationships perpetuates the cycle of recidivism that plagues our criminal justice system and makes it even harder to adapt to life after an inmate has paid his or her debt to society.

Reducing these predatory rates has support from the left, right and center, and is a top priority of civil and human rights groups. We look forward to reviewing and commenting on Chairman Genachowski’s proposal and urge the commission to move swiftly to advance this regulation.”

Wade Henderson is the president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.

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