Experiencing life while a love one is imprisoned can strain your emotions and relationships, but it shouldn’t strain your pocketbook.
The Federal Communications Commission finds that the cost of phone calls from incarcerated friends and family members is at an all-time high and they are committed to changing that.
In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the FCC brought the issue to light finding that most inmate calls are nearly 15 times more expensive than regular phone calls.
The problem initially came to the agency’s attention after Martha Wright complained about her $200 a month phone bill in 2003. The Washington D.C. woman talked to her grandson who is in prison for 15-minutes on a weekly basis and became fed up with the costs.
Several civil rights groups joined together to back Wright’s complaints by filing a civil-action lawsuit on her behalf. However, a judge dismissed the case and referred Wright to the FCC.
FCC Commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn says that since then, “tens of thousands of consumers” have “written, emailed, and yes, phoned the commission, pleading for relief on interstate long distance rates from correctional facilities.”
Although unfamiliar to most phone users, Global Tel*Link and Securus Technologies Inc. are the two companies responsible for the majority of prison phone calls.
Steven Renderos, a national organizer for the Center for Media Justice says that the companies attribute their high rates to “the security features their technology has” including monitoring calls and blocking phone numbers.
However he believes that the technology alone is not enough to add up to $15 for a 15-minute call.
The Center for Media Justice reports that the rates for prison phone calls vary from state to state.
“For example, in Alabama the commission rate is 61.5 percent, and this translates to families having to pay 89 cents a minute on top of a $3.95 connection fee every time a family member receives a call,” Rederos explained.
“Eight states have banned these commissions-California, South Carolina, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Michigan and Missouri-and in those states you see some of the lowest rates for phone calls. For example Missouri charges ten cents a minute for a long-distance phone call with a $1 connection fee. The average commission rate in states that haven’t banned these commissions is 43 percent.”
The FCC suggests that a “monopoly” is created when correctional institutions partner with ICS providers in an exclusive contract rather than offering traditional payphone services. In their notice, the agency also added that while most people can choose among multiple calling services, inmates are limited to phones operated by the contracted provider of the facility.
Clyburn suggests that the public should rally behind the FCC’s action to lower rates for inmate calls in an effort to strengthen our community.
“Maintaining contact with family and friends during incarceration not only helps the inmate, but it is beneficial to our society as a whole. There are well over two million children with at least one parent behind bars and regardless of their circumstances, both children and parents gain from regular contact with one another. Studies also show that those released are less likely to reoffend if they are able to maintain relationships with their loved ones while they are in prison.”
The FCC will receive responses about their proposal from the public for two months.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/7-10/14)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Nite | to the tune of @cnn 😞
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2. Got so much work to do but I just wanna stay in bed and binge watch #Gameofthrones and start the new season of #OnceUponATime. I know I can't be the only one. Right? Ha 💤🦁🍂 #saturday
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3. Mommy's weekend turn up ❤️👶🏾💕🍼 Wouldn't trade it for nothing. #TeamNoSleep lol #HesMyBiggestBlessing ✨
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4. One of them oh shit mont we made it feelings … this shit still be unreal 💯💪🏾 @remyboymonty1738
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5. Tickets Available October 14 @ticketmaster.
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6. People magazine Home edition has raided my house! Get a sneak peek into the bedroom life of the Leakes and see other parts of my home now at PEOPLE.COM
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7. They want to kick you when you down, but kick it when you up
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8. Got my advance copy of #Mafia3 at @gamestop. Get yours via link in the bio #Mafia3 #Ad
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9. This is some of the cast and our diverse team of writers in the writer's room creating funny sh*t for @nbcmarlon what a fun room! Lots of jokes, great stories and having a great time doing what we love... making people laugh and feel something. Look out for our show next year @nbcmarlon we bringing sitcoms back to NBC
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10. #HappySunday☀️Thank you @4everbrandy101 💛💡💛
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11. Happy to be back in Central Falls, RI breaking ground for the One Stop Health Center and hosting a local community event with #Vaseline.
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12. Thank you all in advance 💋💋💋 #Repost @urbansvintage・・・#TarajiPHenson's memoir #AroundTheWayGirl will be available everywhere TODAY October 11th! Will you be purchasing a copy? #UrbansVintage
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13. Moms got my back
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14. @galore dinner party glo ✨ thanks to @styledbygiigii
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15. 🌹#ThisIsWhatTheTruthFeelsLikeTOUR #forevereve
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16. Yes, all those videos I've been posting have led to this: the introduction of skincare to @TYRABeauty! This is the rundown on the new line:Years of research and beauty tips I live by led me to produce the most effective and delightful skincare out there. I'm all about taking really good care of my skin, so I can look like I'm aging in #TyraYears and go filter free on Instagram when I feel like it! Now, it's your turn. ✨My Mama always told me not to wash my face with just my hands. "Tyra, girl, you're just moving the dirt around!" And I've listened. First up is The Clean Machine.... ...a 3-in-1 foaming face wash that cleanses, removes makeup and purified your skin. It has patented technology - a attached Turbo Cleansing Tool - to give you that deep clean that makes your skin feel super fresh. Wanna know more? Yeah, baby. Click that link in my bio.
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17. On set of #beingmaryjane like... ❤️😬💃🏾
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18. #carouselofhope@yvetteshelton100@makeupbylatrice @thestacetheface@marialuciahohan24
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19. I refuse to let a little cold stop me from my daily routines to greatness. #onlythestrongsurvive #warriors
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20. Big things begin with big THINKING... #BusinessEthics #SetLife 🎥
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21. Goodnight - here's a song
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22. Words can't explain the feeling that I have right now.....God is good. look momma I made it. #Harts #Blessed #WhatNow #comedicrockstarshit #4DaysAway
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23. I tried to get a better video with out the nasty bib but she started getting mad at me..lol! Big cuz @the_queen_caitlin trying to show her what to do. #MamasToots #HeirBear👑💜
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24. Gorgeous Serena joined Beyoncé in Formation last night on stage in New Jersey!!!
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25. 😜 @lifeofdesiigner & @rockohill
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