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Next Steps on prison and jail phone reform: Joint statement by Chairman Wheeler and Commissioner Clyburn

"The wheels of justice turn slowly, but today we prepare to take the next critical step toward reducing the high price paid by inmates and their families to communicate"

by Aleks Kajstura, September 26, 2014

Yesterday, 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 regime:

The wheels of justice turn slowly, but today we prepare to take the next critical step toward reducing the high price paid by inmates and their families to communicate.

Our recent reforms have reduced interstate long-distance inmate calling rates by nearly 40%, and that is a very positive development. But many families of inmates still face exorbitant rates for in-state calls, not to mention punitive and irrational fees—all of which make the simple act of staying in touch unaffordable.

The Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking we are circulating today proposes a simple, market-based solution to address all these problems. It proposes rules that will ensure that ALL Americans – including inmates and their families – have access to phone service at rates that are just, reasonable and fair. We look forward to working with our colleagues to adopt permanent reform as soon as possible.

3 Responses

  1. donna goodnight says:

    Communication with the family is helping the person and the cost is just outrageous. I am so sick of the greed in this country and the prison terms for marijuana. the phone calls should cost no more than regular phone calls!

  2. Margaret Bick says:

    I hope this includes inmates who need to call outside the US! Four 15-minute calls per month from a prison in California costs more than a whole month of local and long distances calls combined at home.

    1. Margaret, the FCC is currently seeking comments on whether there is a need for reform on international call rates. You can tell the FCC about your experiences and thoughts on the issue. Just go to http://www.fcc.gov/comments , there will be a list of proceedings, search the list for proceeding # 12-375 “Implementation of the Pay Telephone Reclassification and Compensation Provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 et al.” Clink on “12-375”, the link will take you to a form you can fill out and submit right there.

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