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The Prison Complex

Sunday, Oct 25, 2015, 12:50 pm

Prison Phone Call Rates Capped

By George Lavender

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Staying in touch with someone in prison can be a costly business.

Usually the cost of the call is covered by the person outside prison receiving it, and could reach as much as $14 per minute according to the FCC. The rates are often especially high for calls made out of state. For years, activists and lawyers have argued that places an unreasonable burden on people with a loved-one in prison and urged the FCC to intervene.

As NBC reports, last Thursday the FCC did just that

The move by the Federal Communications Commission was described as a "huge step forward" by one reform group and denounced as "wrong-headed" by a phone service provider that vowed to lead an industry challenge.

The FCC's decision eliminates or limits fees commonly tacked on by providers. It also caps the maximum cost of a 15-minute in-state or local call at $1.65 and lowers the per-minute rate.

The new rules affect inmates in federal and state prisons, including immigrant detention centers. They also apply to local jails, though rates are higher in smaller facilities. Continue reading… 

The move follows a 2013 interim cap on the cost of phone calls. To listen to a radio report from that time go to 14.40 here

Private companies providing phone calls have vowed to challenge the caps to the rates. 

George Lavender is an award-winning radio and print journalist based in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter @GeorgeLavender.

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