Federal regulators are set to dramatically reduce the cost of prison phone calls, in an effort to crack down on what inmate advocates call abusive and predatory practices by phone companies.
For many years, inmates in both state and federal facilities have faced substantially higher rates for phone calls than people outside of prison—in some cases a whopping $14 per minute. Inmate advocates say this practice imposes an unjust burden on inmates and their families while lining the pockets of the companies that control the $1.2 billion prison phone industry.
The Federal Communications Commission has been trying to address this problem for years, led by FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn, who has championed prison phone reform. On October 22, the agency will vote on whether to impose tough new rate caps to ensure that the cost of inmate phone calls is “just, reasonable, and fair,” the agency said Wednesday.