FCC Approves Cap on Skyrocketing Prison Phone Rates

August 9, 2013 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – The Federal Communications Commission today approved rules to bring down exorbitant prison phone rates. Previously an unregulated part of the phone industry, prison calling costs have reached as high as $20 for a 15-minute call in some states. Beginning immediately, the FCC will cap rates at 25 cents per minute, meaning that the cost of a 15 minute long distance call will not exceed $3.75. The FCC also banned extra fees to connect a call or use a calling card.

The following can be attributed to David Fathi, director of the National Prison Project at the American Civil Liberties Union:

“Today’s ruling brings a long overdue end to the shameful practice of gouging families on phone calls from their incarcerated loved ones. Research shows that prisoners who maintain close family ties are less likely to reoffend and more likely to lead productive, law-abiding lives after release. Charging grossly inflated prices for a prisoner’s phone call to his or her children is not only unfair; it’s bad public policy and bad for public safety.”

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