Free Press Praises the FCC’s Prison-Phone Decision
Timothy Karr, 201-533-8838
WASHINGTON — On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission voted to reduce the exorbitant cost of prison-phone calls charged to incarcerated people and their families. Among other improvements, the ruling caps rates for local and in-state long-distance inmate calling and cuts by up to 50 percent the agency’s cap adopted in August 2013 on state-to-state long-distance calls.
These improvements have been championed by FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn and supported by a coalition of advocacy organizations that in October delivered 80,000 petition signatures urging the agency to cap rates for all prison-phone calls.
Free Press Senior External Affairs Director Joseph Torres made the following statement:
“Commissioner Clyburn and her colleagues Commissioner Rosenworcel and Chairman Wheeler deserve immense praise for recognizing the injustice of predatory prison-phone rates and taking action on behalf of some of our society’s most vulnerable communities.
“The coalition — which includes MAG-Net, ColorOfChange.org, the Campaign for Prison Phone Justice, the Human Rights Defense Center and the United Church of Christ Office of Communication, Inc. — has worked tirelessly for years to provide relief from the exorbitant prices prison-phone companies have long charged.
“Unscrupulous phone companies like Securus Technologies often charge $10 or more for a 15-minute call — and that’s before tacking on a range of astronomical fees. These charges place an enormous financial burden on both incarcerated people and their families.
“Targeting these families is unacceptable — not to mention harmful to our communities, our economy and our whole society. The FCC’s action will make a difference for millions of people who struggle to stay connected to loved ones. Now they can do it without getting fleeced by unprincipled companies.”