Prison Phone Justice Victory – FCC Caps Rates for Inmate Phone Calls

To borrow from Sam Cooke, ‘It’s been a long time coming, but change has finally come.’” Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn, FCC

Dear Supporter,

prison-phone-justiceYour calls, letters, visits, artwork, and actions have finally paid off.   After more than a decade of demands by prisoners and their families – and two years of deliberate organizing by the Campaign for Prison Phone Justice– the Federal Communications Commission has taken steps to end the insane cost of calls from prison!  

Until now, incarcerated people and their families have been forced to pay as much as 10x more than the cost of a normal call.

Under the incredible leadership of interim Chair Mignon Clyburn, on Friday, August 9th the FCC passed rules that made the cost of interstate phone rates  affordable for more than 2 million families. The new rules also require phone companies servicing prisons to establish rates based on real costs, not on kickbacks, and provide transparent data.  

Jointly led by the Media Action Grassroots Network, Prison Legal News, and Working Narratives, the Campaign for Prison Phone Justice could not have won this monumental victory without the wisdom and support of our allies at the Civil Rights Telecom Table, the United Church of Christ, Participant Media, Free Press, Public Knowledge, Prison Policy Initiative, HEARD, Color of Change, Credo, Sum of Us, and so many more. 

FCC Caps Rates for Inmates’ Phone Calls
August 9, 2013, USA Today

“Ending a decade-long effort, the Federal Communications Commission has set a nationwide cap on the rates inmates and their families and friends can be charged for interstate telephone services, reports the Tennessean. Under the order approved Friday on a 2-1 vote, calls made by debit or prepaid cards will be assumed to be “just and reasonable” if they don’t exceed 12 cents per minute, while collect calls will be presumed reasonable at 14 cents per minute.

Telephone companies will be allowed to petition for an exception to those caps, but an absolute cap of 21 cents per minute will apply for debit and prepaid card calls, while an absolute cap of 25 cents per minute will apply for collect calls. The order also bars prison telephone companies from charging inmates for commissions paid to state and local prisons. A 15-minute call that now costs $17 will cost only $3.75.” (http://bit.ly/14raLKD)

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