FCC Commissioners are proposing to protect families from in-state prison phone gouging

by Peter Wagner, September 25, 2014

Federal Communications Commissioner Clyburn and Chairman Wheeler are circulating to their colleagues a new proposal to regulate the prison and jail telephone industry.

There aren’t a lot of details in the Commission’s press release, but it appears the Commissioners want extend their earlier progress to:

  • Extend the regulation and price caps on interstate calls to the vast majority of calls home from prisons and jails that are to numbers within the same state.
  • Further restrict the industry’s payments that can be made to the facilities as these payments drive up the cost of a call.
  • Fully address the ancillary charges for opening, having, funding and closing accounts. Beyond the actual costs of the call, ancillary charges consume an estimated 400 million dollars per year.

The draft isn’t available yet, but when it is, we’ll have a full analysis and be working with our friends to encourage public comment on it. For background, see our phones page.

2 Responses

  1. Next Steps on prison and jail phone reform: Joint statement by Chairman Wheeler and Commissioner Clyburn | Prison Policy Initiative says, 19 hours, 55 minutes after publication:

    […] Chairman Wheeler and Commissioner Clyburn issued the following joint statement regarding the circulation to their fellow commissioners of proposals for further reform of the inmate calling […]

  2. Jennifer says, 1 week after publication:

    Securus, Arizona DOC instate for 15 minutes costs $4.92 (prepaid) when out of the area code and prefix. If one is fortunate to have within radius prefix with same area code then the cost is $1.73.
    The same call if made out of state, Calif., would cost $3.15 (prepaid).
    Oversite on this industry that preys should be regulated.

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  • May 15, 2018:
    Our Policy Analyst Lucius Couloute will be at the LEDA Summit on Race and Inclusion in Holland, Michigan, presenting his research on the challenges and disadvantages people face when they are released from prison. Tickets are available on LEDA’s website.

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