Today, by a 3 to 2 vote, the Federal Communications Commission agreed to take the next steps to regulate the prison and jail telephone industry. In the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking the FCC is actively considering, among other things:
- Extending the existing regulation and price caps on interstate calls to all calls, including calls within the same state.
- Further restricting the ability of the industry to make kickback payments to the prison and jail facilities, which currently drives up the call rates.
- Fully addressing the ancillary charges for opening, maintaining, funding and closing accounts that consume an estimated 400 million dollars per year.
The actual notice is not yet public, and we’ll have a more detailed analysis of the new order when it’s out, but it’s clear that we have a lot of work to do in a short period of time — and we need your support to get the work done.
The notice is likely to ask hundreds of detailed questions about how the current system works. We’ll need to provide those answers — and rebut the telephone industry’s recent proposal that would stunt reform — in a short amount of time. We won’t know the exact date until the notice is published in the Federal Register, but we estimate that the first round of comments will be due in early December.
From Sharron: Yes, the telephone companies do need to be regulated with regard to calls to prisons. I have paid as much as $1.00 per minute to speak to my son. There are families out there who can not afford this and calls may be their only means of communicating with their loved one. If the inmate is incarcerated far away, how are they to communicate except with phone calls? Snail mail does not serve the immediate purpose they may have. Take a look at the Prison Policy Initiative today.