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I co-founded the Prison Policy Initiative to put the problem of mass incarceration — and the perverse incentives that fuel it — on the national agenda. Over the last 16 years, our campaigns have protected our democracy from the prison system and protected the poorest families in this country from the predatory prison telephone industry. Our reports untangle the statistics and recruit new allies.

But now, more than ever, we need your help to put data & compassion into the conversation. Any gift you can make today will be matched by other donors and go twice as far.

Thank you.
—Peter Wagner, Executive DirectorDonate

Casting call: Protect the FCC’s regulation of the prison and jail telephone industry

by Peter Wagner, October 16, 2015

Next Thursday, October 22, the Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to vote on historic regulation of the prison and jail telephone industry. Previous reforms have applied to some calls, but this reform will lower the cost of receiving calls home from prisons and jails for all families of incarcerated people in this country.

I expect that some of the companies and the greedier sheriffs might again sue the government for enacting this important reform. Most of the companies (except for one) are privately held and hard to influence; but sheriffs are elected by all of us.

The sheriffs will have elections coming up. I’d like to make a video addressed to voters faced with re-electing a sheriff who is suing the federal government for regulating the prison and jail telephone industry, setting the decade-long movement for phone justice back even further.

We’ll be looking for writers, actors, editors, camera people, graphic designers, etc. In February, some amazing comedians produced a series of videos that successfully shamed the video visitation industry into dropping its ban on in-person visits. We think we can convince the public of the harm that will come from re-electing sheriffs who want to charge the poorest families in their communities $1 a minute for simple phone calls, but we need your help.

Many of these Sheriffs are outside of the major media markets, but from our work on prison gerrymandering, we know how to get press coverage in rural parts of the country. We need your help to make the video exciting and to make sure it reaches a national audience.

If you or your team can help, please contact us directly or join our Young Professionals Network. (And, please, share this casting call with your networks.)

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