Combating the Outrageous Price for a Simple Prison Call

One of the rudest shock to anyone entering prison (or even county jails) and to their loved ones is the the extreme price-gouging prisons systems charge inmates and their families to make and receive phone calls. There is no excuse for the prices charged for per minute phone usage and the hoops people are forced to jump over in order to speak with someone incarcerated. But, the fact of the matter is that prisons make money off of these calls, and they don’t care that the people forced to pay are often those who can least afford to do so.

A couple of States have successfully challenged high rates in court and gotten some reduction in the rates.  In IL, court action has not yet been initiated, but there are a few organizations attempting to petition for reduced phone rates. You can sign the petition online here.

There is some other news:

On August 10, 2010, President Obama signed the Cell Phone Contraband Act, which “…makes it a crime for prisoners to possess cell phones. But a little-known provision of the new law could have far more important effects for prisoners and their families. The bill orders the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study the rates that federal prisoners must pay to use ordinary prison phones — and to investigate less expensive alternatives.” You can read about this development on the website of the National Prison Project of the ACLU (a wonderful organization we all need to support here, under Article “Price Gouging in Prison”. While there, be sure and check out the rest of the website!

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