Eliminate all predatory prison phone rates

 

PrisonLast year UCC advocates helped persuade the Federal Communications Commission to end predatory rates for long-distance calls to and from prisons, jails, and detention centers.

Thanks to your work, after February 11 families cannot be charged more than 25 cents per minute to speak to their loved ones in prison. Before you acted, a typical long-distance collect call from prison could a family almost a dollar a minute, and can reach hundreds of dollars per month. 

But the job is not done! The prison phone companies attacked the decision in court, and the Federal Communications Commission has not yet been able to end all predatory rates--right now the cap only applies to calls between states. We also want to urge the FCC to take further steps to help prisoners and detainees who are deaf and hard of hearing, as they face unique challenges connecting with the outside world.

Prisoners are isolated from their families and loved ones. Matthew 25:35-40 teaches us, as people of faith, that we cannot forget those in prison. End the financial burden once and for all.

Please help - sign this petition from the UCC's historic media justice ministry thanking the FCC for the work thus far, and encouraging them to finish the job on behalf of families, inmates and detainees.

Nothing justifies these high rates. Eight states and the Federal Bureau of Prisons have banned the practice. These costs hurt all of us by reducing the chance that men and women returning from prison will have supportive networks when they get out--meaning they are more likely to return to prison.  Yet still the large prison phone companies corporations and some sheriffs are suing to block our victory and opposing any further action at the F.C.C.

Learn more about predatory prison phone rates:

 


Sign the Petition:

 

Chairman Thomas Wheeler
Commissioner Mignon Clyburn
Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel
Commissioner Ajit Pai
Commissioner Michael O'Rielly
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554

Re:  Rates for Inmate Calling Services, WC Docket No. 12-375

Dear Chairman Wheeler and Commissioners:

We, as people of faith and members of the United Church of Christ, thank you for your commitment and leadership to addressing predatory prison phone rates. The Federal Communication Commission’s vote in August brought much needed financial relief to the families of the incarcerated, and ensures that nearly 3 million children with a parent behind bars have an easier time staying connected.   We thank you for your work defending this critical decision in court, and your steps to implement the new rules on February 11.

We hope that you will extend your historic decision of last year to cap local and intrastate telephone rates.  The cost of local telephone calls to jails, prisons, and immigration detention centers are just as problematic as long-distance rates.  While some states have commendably taken action to address these rates, and a few have begun proceedings to review them, unfortunately many more states have yet to act.

We also urge you to help the deaf and hard of hearing community, which faces unique challenges.  For an inmate who has communication disabilities, connection with the outside world can be critical.

For all the above reasons, we ask you to address unreasonable local phone rates to prisons, jails and detention centers and take up the task of addressing the needs of incarcerated people with disabilities.   We continue to support your work defending and implementing these important rules.

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