Office of Communications, Inc.

UCC Media Justice Update

Just Rates for Incarcerated Communications

Today a group of almost 80 organizations wrote to Senators McConnell, Schumer, Wicker and Cantwell to request that the Senate include the COVID-19 Compassion and Martha Wright Prison Phone Justice provisions, H.R. 6800, §§130701-03, in the next COVID-19 package enacted into law. Those provisions would: 1) immediately reduce rates for voice calls, capping the cost of all calls at $0.04 per minute for prepaid calls and $0.05 per minute for collect calls, 2) end site commission payments between phone companies and correctional agencies; and 3) clearly establish the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) jurisdiction to limit predatory rates for local, intrastate communications as well as fees of all kinds.

Cheryl A. Leanza, OC Inc.'s policy advisor said, "In a time when our country is focused on the importance of affordable communication during a pandemic, the value of Black Lives, and the systemic flaws in our criminal justice system, it just makes sense for Congress to ensure that no one can be charged predatory rates to talk to their loved ones in prison, jail or detention. The Christian tradition teaches us that incarcerated people are worthy of dignity and respect in every way--whether it is the right to fair treatment inside, support reintegrating into society or the ability to speak to a child without sacrificing economic security. The time for Congress to act is now."

The letter and petitions with a total of 75,000 signatures were discussed at a press conference on August 11, 2020. A recording of the press conference is available here.

Categories: prison phone

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