Target: Federal Communications Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Pai
Goal: Commend the Federal Communications Commission for agreeing to regulate the price of prison phone calls
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently approved new rules to regulate prison phone rates, which have been skyrocketing in recent years. Rates before these rules go into effect can reach $17 per 15-minute phone call. These high rates have been very lucrative for a handful of phone companies – companies which have been accused of taking advantage of an unregulated sector of the telecommunications industry. These phone companies are isolating convicts from their loved ones by making it increasingly more difficult for them to make phone calls home.
The FCC voted to immediately cap how much these phone-service providers can charge the recipients of an inmate’s call. The cap will be set at 25 cents per-minute, so now a 15-minute long-distance call won’t cost more than $3.75, which is a huge change from the previously high rates. Further, the FCC implemented a new rule that bans the phone companies from charging any extra fees for connecting a call or using a calling card.
This is a huge success for the many campaigns that have formed in support of prison phone justice. Many prisoners have no other option for staying in touch with their families, and phone calls can provide an essential connection to their outside lives that has immeasurable value. Not only do phone companies benefit from jacking up the prices, but prisons also receive a commission from the phone-service providers, making the high rates a profitable scheme for the prisons themselves.
The FCC has shown that it sides with the prisoners in this matter and is willing to protect inmates and their families from unfair charges. Sign the petition below to commend the FCC for these actions and encourage continued progress.
Dear Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Pai,
The FCC’s recent decision to place a cap on the rates of phone calls made between prison inmates and their loved ones helps advance the cause for prison phone justice. These rates were increasing at an alarming rate, leading to significant profits for phone-service providers and the prisons, which received commissions for all phone calls made.
These profits were made at the expense of convicts and their families, who were burdened with huge costs that sometimes made the difference between being able to make a call and not. Phone calls give inmates a necessary connection to their families and outside lives that can prove to be a hugely significant life line. Under the new rules, more inmates will likely be able to contact their families. I applaud you for implementing these new regulations and standing up to the phone companies.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Saddboy via Wikimedia Commons