New opportunity to weigh in on FCC prison phone regulation

by Leah Sakala, November 21, 2014

If you’ve been looking for an opportunity to weigh in on federal regulation of the prison and jail telephone industry, the time has come.

Today the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published a Public Notice in the Federal Register announcing the Commission’s “Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” to make calls home from prisons and jails more fairly priced. For a refresher on what the FCC is proposing to do, check out our play-by-play blog post.

This Federal Register publication kicks off a new FCC public comment period that will run until January 5, 2015*, followed by a reply comment period that will end on January 20, 2015*. You can make your voice heard by submitting a comment to the FCC. We’re working on a series of submissions here at PPI, and hope that you’ll join us in telling the FCC that it’s time to enact comprehensive regulation to ensure that ALL families can afford to stay in touch with incarcerated loved ones.

*December Update: The FCC has granted a one-week extension. Comments are now due January 12 and reply comments are due on January 27.

3 Responses

  1. Linda Shelton says, 23 minutes after publication:

    As a captive audience inmates can’ t shop around for better value. Therefore it is most important they are not abused with price gouging. Also inmate families are mostly the poorest members of society. If they were wealthy they could hire a good attorney and win their case. Most will be released and without frequent family contact bonds with children are lost and our country suffers with family destruction. This has a large economic impact as well as damages children in many ways. Government must regulate strongly areas like this where people have no choice.

  2. Jesse C. Middendorf says, 2 days, 10 hours after publication:

    my wife and I have a son who has been incarcerated for six years. Thankfully we are capable of affording the cost of phone calls. However, in our work as volunteers we constantly find families who are incapable of paying for the high cost of prepaid phone calls. The result is often a terrible barrier to communication between family members and prisoners. They have no ability to travel to see their family member, and cannot afford the exorbitant cost of the telephone systems contracted by the prison systems. Something is terribly wrong with this policy.

  3. Eileen Siple says, 2 days, 11 hours after publication:

    We know that the inmates who will be successful on release from prison are those that have been able to maintain close ties with family and community members. It is essential that prisons and regulating agencies work to ensure that inmates have easy access to visits and phone calls. There is no reason, for instance, that phone calls in Maryland DOC should be routed through an agency in TX, so that phone calls are all long distance, even if you live next door to the prison. Typically, a phone call from a prison that is nearby will cost $7 for 1/2 hour. That is ridiculous, and in this day and age, it is not necessary. Most of us no longer pay for long distance phone calls on our home phones. Why should inmate and their families have to pay these exorbitant prices, when few of them are able to do so?

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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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