‘Prison phone companies shouldn’t be able to profit off families and prisoners’
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is sponsoring a petition that urges the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to place a cap on the rate charged for intra-state collect telephone calls originating from jail and prison.
The petition comes in the wake of the FCC’s limitation placed on the rate prison phone companies are able to charge for inter-state collect calls made from jail and prison.
“The FCC took an important first step last August by capping the price of prisoner phone calls made from one state to another at 25 cents per minute,” The Nation magazine said.
An intra-state telephone call occurs when the call originates and terminates within the same state, as opposed to inter-state calls that originate in the state and terminate in a different state.
According to The Nation, the majority of prisoners in the United States are serving their sentences in the states where they reside.
The price for costly telephone calls made from prison precludes many prisoners from calling home very often, The Nation reported.
“For-profit prison phone companies like Global Tel* Link have gotten away with charging sky-high rates to prisoners and their families, making it too expensive for families to stay connected,” The Nation said. “Prison phone companies shouldn’t be able to profit off families, and prisoners trying to be good parents and good family members.”
The petition to the FCC says, in part: “When prisoners keep in touch with their families, they are less likely to reoffend later, and kids are better off. It’s time to cap in-state prison phone rates at a price families can afford.”
The Nation reported that some prisoners, or their families, are charged up to $17 dollars for a 15-minute phone call. The same call made outside of prison might cost $2 dollars.
The Nation said if the price of intra-state calls are not reduced, “that’s bad for public safety.”