Regulating the prison phone industry

Some children have to pay $1/minute to talk to an incarcerated parent. Why? Because prisons and jails profit by granting monopoly telephone contracts to the company that will charge families the most.

For almost twenty years, families had been calling on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to provide relief from the exorbitant bills that the prison phone companies charge just to stay in touch. Recognizing yet another way that mass incarceration punishes entire communities, the Prison Policy Initiative joined with partners across the country to help generate the research and advocacy that was necessary for change.

We’ve won some real victories at the FCC lowering rates and halting industry consolidation, we’re pushing for states to take action, and we’re keeping this industry and the perverse incentives it offers the sheriffs in the news.

Newest report:

color coded map of the United States showing the biggest priorities for prison and jail phone justice in 40 of the states as of 2019For more on each state, see our briefing The biggest priorities for prison and jail phone justice in 40 states. For the big national picture, see our report, State of Phone Justice.

See our older reports and FCC briefings

Older reports and FCC briefings

FCC briefings:






Our work in Iowa

As part of our national strategy to encourage state regulators to address unreasonable rates and fees charged by the jail telephone industry, we've intervened in regulatory proceedings for several companies in Iowa. For more information, see:

Our national work

Our work in the news

Our blog posts on phone justice:

Some of the highlights from the phones section of our blog:

Other news coverage we think you should read

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