Huffington Post: The Father’s Day Profiteers That Put Hallmark to Shame

by Leah Sakala, June 13, 2014

The Huffington Post just published my new article, The Father’s Day Profiteers That Put Hallmark to Shame. Here’s how it starts:

This Sunday, more than a million families will face a huge Father’s Day problem, and it’s not figuring out which tie pattern dad would like best. It’s the astronomical cost of wishing him a Happy Father’s Day over the phone if he happens to be one of the 1.2 million parents in prison or jail. That’s because the prison telephone industry wants to charge families as much as $1/minute just to tell incarcerated loved ones that they are loved and missed.

The article includes some heart-breaking first-hand testimonies from the tens of thousands of petition messages that we collected with SumOfUs calling for Federal Communication Commission (FCC) regulation:

  • “…because I’m a single mom now, I can’t afford to indulge [my daughter] so she can talk to the only man she’s ever called Daddy. That is wrong.”
  • “My little boy turned one today and it cost $12 for his dad to be able to sing him happy birthday. It’s not right that prison phone calls are so overpriced.”
  • “While [my son’s] dad tries to write letters & cards, talking on the phone is a much more accessible way to connect with and develop a semblance of a relationship with a small child. My son rarely gets to talk to his dad anymore…”
  • “My son’s father has been in prison for most of my son’s life. My son has only spoken to his father once in the last 10 years. My son is 14 now. If it were more affordable to speak to his father, perhaps my son would feel like he has some sort of connection with his father.”
  • “My dad was in jail when I was a child and at this price there is no way my mom would have been able to afford to let me talk to him. Without my dad I would not be who I am today.”

Alongside these families that have been calling for prison phone justice for more than a decade, here at Prison Policy Initiative we’ll keep fighting to ensure that families can afford to stay connected on Father’s Day and every day.

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