Prison Policy Initiative: ‘The Commission needs to hear from us that this is a critical next step’
Prisoners are able to make less expensive out-of-state collect telephone calls, thanks to an order by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The FCC order limits the cost of interstate, collect telephone calls made from jails and prisons.
The ruling “marks the first definitive action from the FCC to control the broken prison and jail telephone industry,” said Peter Wagner, executive director of Prison Policy Initiative.
“We absolutely agree that in-state rates must be regulated as well…”
Beginning Feb.11, calls home made by inmates from prison or jail no longer cost families as much as $17. These new rules will help to improve how the prison telephone market operates, Wagner commented.
According to PPI, the FCC is soliciting comments from the public related to “expanding the scope and operation of their order.”
The American Civil Liberties Union is also sponsoring a petition to spur more action by the FCC to regulate in-state calls, which account for the majority of inmate phone traffic in the United States, according to The Nation magazine.
“We absolutely agree that in-state rates must be regulated as well. The FCC has opened up a new comment period to get public input on regulating in-state rates,” said Leah Sakala, policy analyst for PPI.
The FCC has also announced Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, seeking the public’s input on the possibility of other regulations. The FCC indicated it wants to make certain fees for jail and prison telephone calls will be “just, reasonable, and cost-based,” PPI reported.
The FCC order sets a maximum rate of 21 cents per minute for debit and prepaid calls, and 25 cents for collect calls.
Wagner said, “The two largest prison phone companies, Securus and Global Tel Link, filed petitions to delay implementation” of the order.
“The commission needs to hear from us that this is a critical next step” in regulating the way telephone companies do business, said Sakala, referring to regulation of in-state rates.