This Friday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will vote on a rule regarding prison phone rates. The FCC is considering limiting the cost of phone calls between prisoners and their families. The meeting will be held on August 9 at 10:30 AM. We encourage you to watch, either by attending the open meeting in Washington, DC, or watching through the FCC’s live online stream.
Prisoners who remain in touch with their families are significantly less likely to re-offend once released. Studies show that prisoners are more likely to get jobs, stay off drugs, and adjust back to free society. But high phone rates often have the opposite effect, separating inmates from the very ones who can provide strength and encouragement during incarceration, and are likely to be an important part of the inmate’s reintegration into society.
A recent study shows that prisoners’ families and loved ones pay over $360 million a year on telephone calls to their incarcerated loved ones. Some prisons charge between $10 and $17 for a 15 minute phone call. While families shoulder the costs, prisons make money based on kickbacks from contracts with service providers.
To learn more about prison phone rates, watch the hearing on Friday and read Justice Fellowship’s page on prison visitation and phone policy.