Don’t Let Prison Phone Rates Increase Crime in Your Neighborhood—Infographic

When convicts and their families can’t afford to talk, we all pay the cost.
Sep 11, 2012
Allan MacDonell is TakePart’s News + Opinion editor, with a focus on social justice.

The High Cost of Prison Phone Calls: A TakePart Infographic

Americans are accustomed to leading the world in inflammatory prison statistics. For instance:

  • The United States boasts the highest incarceration rate currently known to man.
  • The U.S. makes up 5 percent of the world’s population, but creates 25 percent of the globe’s prison population.
  • More than two-thirds of American prison inmates who complete their sentences will be arrested again within three years after release.
  • American taxpayers shell out more than $60 billion a year on a seemingly self-perpetuating, ironically named corrections system.
  • And a family member of a prison inmate can in many instances expect to be charged $18 for a 15-minute conversation with their incarcerated relative.

There’s a direct connection between the price of prison phone calls and the billions of dollars spent to keep people locked up in America.

Here is the simple math: Inmates who maintain family contact have less recidivism. Less recidivism shrinks the prison population. A shrunken prison population reduces the amount of tax dollars going to maintaining the “corrections” system.

MORE: America’s Out-of-Control Jail Culture

Inflated prison phone rates have earned the term predatory and have brought together organizations as diverse as the NAACP and the conservative Americans for Tax Reform to lobby for fair and affordable inmate dialing.

Maybe you don’t like people who have been convicted of a crime. Maybe you feel that people who have been convicted of a crime deserve to suffer in prison.

You may even feel that it is right and just that the children of a person who has been convicted of a crime should be taxed financially and emotionally to “pay” for the crime of a family member.

But if you want less crime on your streets, and less cost of crime in your tax burden, then give families with a member in prison a chance to talk to one another.

Are predatory phone rights an added and unjustified punishment on inmates and their families? Or do people convicted of crimes reap what they sow? Think it over in COMMENTS.

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