Campaign for Prison Phone Justice
On August 9, 2013 a decade-long battle came to a momentous close. Through the brave reform proposal of FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn, years of advocacy by the phone justice coalition, and the Campaign for Prison Phone Justice associated with the film Middle of Nowhere (Center for Media Justice, MAG-Net), the Federal Communications Commission voted to cap prison phone rates, decreasing the cost of maintaining family connections by nearly 80 percent. The new rules also require phone companies servicing prisons to establish rates based on real costs, not on kickbacks, and provide transparent data.
Martha Wright, the trailblazer behind this ten-year initiative, finally realized the pivotal change she had been fighting for with the help of various impassioned individuals and organizations. This motion will not only alter the lives of millions of families with incarcerated loved ones, but could ultimately impact the future of millions of incarcerated individuals.
For far too long America's prison systems were plagued by high prison phone rates. Families paid nearly ten times the price of a normal call, costing them up to $18 every fifteen minutes to connect with an incarcerated family member. Incarcerated individuals were further isolated from their families by these predatory rates, yet study after study has shown that enhanced contact between families reduces the chances of reincarceration upon release.
Middle of Nowhere is proud to have been a part of this campaign and would like to commend the many organizations that worked to make a difference and demand justice for families across the country.
In February 2014, the FCC will implement new phone rate caps for long-distance calls paid by inmates in prisons and jails across America. However, local calls are still subject to predatory phone rate pricing.
Stand with organizations like the Center for Media Justice and urge the FCC to cap rates for all local prison calls.
Families pay the price for the high cost of prison phone calls. Learn more about what families face to stay connected: download the infographic.
CAMPAIGN UPDATE (December 28 2012): The FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rule Making on lowering interstate prison phone call rates. This is a crucial step in passing the Wright Petiton. Ava DuVernay, writer/director/producer MIDDLE OF NOWHERE commented, "On behalf of the entire cast and crew and our partners at Participant Media, I'm honored that MIDDLE OF NOWHERE helped shed light on the painful issues facing loved ones of the incarcerated. Our film, however, is just one piece of the puzzle. Our good friends at Center for Media Justice continue to wage a vitally important campaign dedicated to abolishing the abhorrant practices around predatory prison phone rates. There is still much to be done. I believe that when people of conscience stand together righteousness blossoms, and look forward to the day when the Wright Petition is passed and families are able to connect and communicate without penalty."
Wright to Call Home
The Wright to Call Home video series is a 3-part series featuring narrative and documentary shorts that further explore the themes of staying connected to loved ones in prison.
The Wright to Call Home campaign centers on urging the FCC to pass the Wright petition, named after Martha Wright, who has been fighting a decade-long battle to make prison phone calls affordable for all families. The shorts highlight real voices and stories of those directly affected by extraordinarily high prison phone rates.
Watch the videos below and take action to help make it right for everyone to call home.
Luisa's Story: Predatory Phone Rates
My Mom Is...
Wright to Call Junior
Luisa's Story: Predatory Phone Rates2:14
My Mom Is...3:09
Wright to Call Junior1:44