Families are charged extraordinarily high phone rates to keep in touch with loved ones in prison. Help ensure fair costs so everyone has the right to call home.
FCC Chairman Genachowski
Dear Chairman Genachowski,
Our communities urgently need federal oversight of interstate prison phone call rates to ensure fair costs for friends and families who have loved ones in prison.
Most companies with contracts to provide phone services to prisons charge extraordinarily high phone rates. It can cost a mom more than 18 dollars for a 15-minute phone call with her son in prison. Families are forced to pay these excessive rates or give up staying connected. Our communities are harmed because prisoners who are unable to maintain family ties, are less likely to succeed post-release. Also, an inmates' ability to stay in contact with family members by phone is an effective and cost-efficient way to drastically reduce the chances of recidivism. There are over 2.3 million people incarcerated in the United States with 40% at risk of returning to prison, and our epidemic of incarceration costs taxpayers $63.4 billion a year.Make this more affordable for everyone — the taxpayers and the families — by regulating interstate prison phone call rates now.
Approve the Wright Petition, CC Docket No. 96-128, which requests the FCC to establish benchmark rates for all interstate inmate calling services no higher than 0.25 per minute for collect calls. The Wright Petition, CC Docket No. 96-128, has been pending before the FCC for 8 years. Why are we waiting act on this important issue?
About The Petition:
The FCC can address this nationwide problem by passing the Wright Petition (CC Docket No. 96-128) and setting standards to ensure consumers who must use prison phone services have options for communications affordability and access.
The Wright Petition was a set of recommendations filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 2003 by a group of prisoners, family members, and their allies seeking federal action to stop the prison phone overcharging. Many organizations contacted the FCC to urge the agency to accept the recommendations of the Wright Petition.
The Wright Proposal refers to an additional set of filings made to the FCC in 2007, after the agency still hadn’t acted on the original petition. The petitioners sent an alternative proposal to the FCC, asking for reasonable limits on the rates a company can charge for an interstate call from prison and cheaper debit calling options. They are still waiting for a response.
On February 16, 2000, the Wright v. CCA complaint was filed in the D.C. District Court.
On August 22, 2001, District Judge Gladys Kessler referred the case to the Federal Communications Commission, under the doctrine of primary jurisdiction.
On October 31, 2003, Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a petition for rulemaking with the FCC. The petition sought restructuring of long distance inmate calling services to introduce competition.
In March of 2007, CCR and its partners filed an alternative rulemaking proposal requesting that the FCC establish benchmark rates for all interstate inmate calling services no higher than $0.20 per minute for debit calling and $0.25 per minute for collect calling.
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We appreciate your support of our campaign to end predatory prison phone rates. Please check back here for updates on the campaign!
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