Office of Communications, Inc.

UCC Media Justice Update

Posts in category: "prison phone"

Lower Prison Phone Rates Start Today!

For over ten years a coalition of organizations and individuals has been asking the Federal Communications Commission (the FCC) to lower the cost of calling prison, jail or detention centers. Finally, last year we won! The FCC’s new rate caps take effect February 11, 2014.  The new rates will protect families, pastors, community members and others making phone calls to people in prison, jails, or detention centers.  We have prepared a summary and resources to help people apply the new rules.

New Rate Caps

On February 11, 2014, the new rate caps adopted by the Federal Communications Commission for telephone calls to people in prison, jail or detention take effect. The FCC caps for interstate calls (calls between two different states) are:

  • 25 cents per minute for collect calls and
  • 21 cents per minute for debit or prepaid calls

The FCC also capped the total cost of a call between two states, including per-call charges. Those caps are:

  • $3.75 for a 15-minute collect call and
  • $3.15 for a 15-minute debit or prepaid calls

For calls after February 11, 2014, a charge over these limits is in violation of federal rules.

Need more help understanding the new rules? See our Frequently Asked Questions and How to File a Complaint at the FCC for Prison Phone Call Charges that are Too High.

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Categories: prison phone

Prison Phone Court Ruling

In response to the D.C. Circuit’s ruling this morning, Cheryl Leanza, Policy Advisor to the United Church of Christ, OC Inc. said:

 

The D.C. Circuit left in place today that the interim rates established by the FCC, of 25 cents per minute for debit calling and 21 cents per minute in collect calling.  The historic victory remains in place.  Once the FCC is able to collect the additional data it needs, these rates will surely come down.  The companies resorting to litigation to oppose these rates continue their unconscionable conduct.

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Categories: prison phone

New More Just Prison Phone Rates Move Ahead

The following statement can be attributed to Cheryl Leanza, policy advisor for the United Church of Christ's media justice and communications rights ministry, OC Inc.:

 

"For ten years, the prison phone industry, led by Securus and Global Tel Link, has stonewalled and delayed while families have waited for the Federal Communications Commission to end predatory prison phone rates.  Now, at long last, we have rules that will bring to an end the unjustified rates.

 

"The FCC gave the industry innumerable chances to prove their claims that these extraordinary prices are justified.  Not only did the industry refuse to participate, but it asked for even more delay.  The FCC has finally heard the call of justice, and rightly refused to make families suffer any longer.   As Commissioner Clyburn said, 'Justice delayed is justice denied.'"

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Categories: prison phone

GMP Rev. Geoffrey Black Praises FCC Prison Phone Vote Tomorrow

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), led by Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn scheduled a vote tomorrow on a long-pending petition to reform predatory prison phone rates.  The United Church of Christ's media justice and communications rights ministry, called Office of Communication, Inc., has been active in promoting the cause of justice at the FCC.  In anticipation of the vote tomorrow, Rev. Geoffrey Black, General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ issued the following statement:

Less than a year ago, I joined inmate families as they rallied outside the FCC asking for an end to long distance predatory prison phone rates.  Tomorrow the FCC will act under the leadership of Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn, who heard the call of justice.  We offer Chairwoman Clyburn and her staff our gratitude for taking action and ending 10 years of delay.  We are very proud of the role the UCC’s historic media justice ministry played in bringing about the FCC vote.

For more information about this issue, visit our web page, www.uccmediajustice.org/prisonphones.

Press contact: Cheryl Leanza, UCC OC Inc. policy advisor: 202-904-2168

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The United Church of Christ is a faith community rooted in justice that recognizes the unique power of the media to shape public understanding and thus society.  For this reason, UCC’s Office of Communication, Inc. (OC, Inc.) works to create just and equitable media structures that give meaningful voice to diverse peoples, cultures and ideas.  Established in 1959, OC Inc. ultimately established the right of all citizens to participate at the Federal Communications Commission as part of its efforts to ensure a television broadcaster in Jackson, MS served its African-American viewers during the civil rights movement. 

The Cleveland-based United Church of Christ has 5,700 local congregations across the United States.  It was formed by the 1957 union of the Congregational Christian Churches and the Evangelical and Reformed Church.

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Categories: prison phone  |  press release

FCC will vote Friday to end predatory prison phone rates

The Federal Communications Commission has heard the call of justice.  The FCC has scheduled a vote on Friday to consider the 10 year-old petition of Martha Wright to end the high cost of long distance calls to prison.

 

We don't yet know how the vote will go, but under the leadership of Acting Chairwoman Clyburn, we are hopeful for a good ruling.

 

As the Commission was undertaking its final consideration of this question, we submitted our petition of religious leaders and organizations urging the FCC to act.  Thank you to all who signed the petition!

 

The FCC will stream its meeting on Friday morning via the Internet.  Or you can follow UCC OC Inc. on Twitter, and look for the hashtag #phonejustice.  UCC OC Inc.'s allies at the phone justice campaign are also organizing phone justice viewing parties across the country to watch the FCC's live stream.  Click here and let them know you will be watching!

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Categories: prison phone



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