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Codebreaker

Groups wants prisoners to get a break on phone rates

Larissa Anderson May 21, 2012
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Several groups including the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, Consumers Union, Free Press, NAACP, the National Council of La Raza, as well as conservatives David Keene of the American Conservative Union and Gary Bauer of American Values sent a STRONGLY WORDED LETTER to the Federal Communications Commission asking the agency to put a cap on the phone rates prisoners are charged.

From Hillicon Valley: “According to the letter, a typical interstate collect call from prison has a $3.95 connection fee and rates as high as 90 cents per minute. The groups note that a 15-minute collect call would cost families $10 to $17 and that a one-hour call once a week would cost $250 per month.”

The argument is prisoners need to connect with friends and family – the less they do so, the more challenging it may be to reintegrate into society, and that because prisons get fees and don’t have to pay for the phone rates (families do), prisons are incentivized to choose carriers with high rates and high fees.

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