(Video) Give This Boy the Wright to Call His Dad for the Holidays

Prison phone rates force families to choose between calling an incarcerated family member and little luxuries, like eating.

From the video ‘Wright to Call Junior,’ directed by Angel Kristi Williams. Voice over by Gbenga Akinnagbe (The Wire, Savages, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3.)

Nov 20, 2012
Allan MacDonell is TakePart’s News + Opinion editor, with a focus on social justice.

Not everyone can be home for holidays. People in prison, obviously, are separated from their families—by bars, by cement walls and coiled razor wire, by long distances and by telephone pricing structures that make keeping in voice contact with an incarcerated loved one prohibitively expensive.

If you are an American who enjoys (or dreads) the option of flocking to an overcrowded airport and shuffling through the longest TSA security lines in mankind’s memory to file onto a loaded-to-capacity airliner and fly back to a place you have left behind, there to reunite with the group of people who provided your bonds of origination, count yourself lucky.

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

You might have a relative in prison: It can happen to anyone. While you fly, you can reflect upon the varied qualities that make your incarcerated family member a full member of the human race, an individual who embodies many facets beyond the traits and deeds that resulted in a prison sentence. When your plane lands, chances are you can afford to bite the bullet and place a call to whatever institution is housing your loved one and tell that person in your voice that love exists for them and someone wants to see them come home.

So, if you are lucky enough not to be among the unluckiest among us, lend your voice against the collusion of corporate greed and institutional callousness.

If that is your situation, while making that phone call, even bearing the pain of a loved one in prison, continue to count yourself lucky.

You know that phoning into a penitentiary can cost up to $18 for 15 minutes. The charge, you are aware, is outrageous. You suspect—and you don’t need to do much research to verify your suspicions—that corporate greed and institutional apathy are the forces that have jacked up the price of prison phone rates. The rates would almost, you reflect, be criminal. Except that you are able to foot that bill.

But many of the 2.7 million children in America who have at least one imprisoned parent are not so fortunate. Many of their families cannot afford to pay the $280 a month that corporate interests exact for the right to speak with a father, a mother or a sibling for a few fleeting conversations. To maintain a family’s verbal contact with a locked away member—a vital factor in motivating rehabilitation and reducing recidivism—that family might have to forgo heat in the winter months, give up school books, eat less than three meals a day.

So, if you are lucky enough not to be among the unluckiest among us, lend your voice against the collusion of corporate greed and institutional callousness that has established America’s predatory prison phone rates.

A resolution is before the Federal Communications Commission to regulate the pricing of phone calls between family members and inmates.

The holiday season is upon all of us. We should all be able to pick up a phone and contact that person who most needs a few words of love. If you believe this truth is self-evident, sign the Wright Petition to press the FCC to act.

Don’t let another holiday season roll around without fixing this problem. It hurts us all.

Do you want to see inmates reunited and productive with their families? Then explain that as the reason you signed the Wright Petition to End Predatory Prison Phone Rates, in COMMENTS.

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