Today, there are roughly 2.3 million people within the United States prison system, not including the over 363, 000 individuals detained in immigrant detention facilities.
Historically, the prices to make a phone call from prison are astronomically high, which has been detrimental to family members and loved ones footing the bill. Additionally, the prison system chooses which company provides for them, which often included a “kick-back” profit to the state or the prisons themselves. Under the Communications Act, it is the responsibility of the FCC to ensure that phone rates for a population of Americans remain just and reasonable.
In August 2020, the FCC moved to reduce the cost of phone calls from prison. The Commissioners passed a Report and Order that asserts the FCC’s jurisdiction over “ancillary fees” and a Further Noticed of Proposed Rulemaking proposing reduced rates and charges for inmate calling services within the Commission’s jurisdiction.
What PK Is Doing…
Public Knowledge supports open and affordable access to communications. The cost of these calls should be proportionate to the operating costs of these phone systems.
We urge Congress to pass legislation that would give the FCC jurisdiction to regulate rates for intrastate charges – about 80% of all inmate calls. We urge the FCC to reduce the high rates of interstate inmate calling services so that inmates can connect with their families.
Here are the PK experts on this issue: