Ocotber of this year (2015), the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) with a 3-2 vote, lowered calls made from jails & prisons. The pre-paid and debt calls can’t be more than .11 cents a minute for in-state and out of state calls from prison, and no more than .14 cents a minute for collect calls. The rate of the collect calls, also has to be lowered to .11 cents within the next 2 years.
As far as county jails go: for jails with less than 349 people, the max is .22 cents a minute for jails with 350-999 people, the max is .16 cents a minute. For jails with 1,000 plus people, the max is .14 cents a minute.
Here in Washington State, back in 2010 the rates for out of state pre-paid calls was $18.30 because it was a $4.95 connection fee, and .89 cents a minute.
Lowering the rates is a long overdue relief, which lessens the burden of us and our families. Honestly in my opion, we shouldn’t be charged at all to make any calls, they already take money from our paychecks & any money we get sent in over $10, a mandatory 35%, unless a person is a lifer, it is 25%. And if you owe fines or child support, they can take up to 95% of whatever money you have, keep that in mind!!!
The FCC people who voted in favor of the lowered rates was: Mignon Clyburn, Jessica Rosenworcel, & Chairman Tom Wheeler.
In November of this year (2015), The FCC made public it’s “Second Report and Order and Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.”
So now companies can’t add ancillary costs to the calls, which can increase the price up to 40% more, and the only fees that can be added are: a $2 paper billing fee, $3 for paying for pre-paid calls by automated system, and $5.95 for paying through a live operator.
Why does it cost so much to pay through a live operator?
Jails & prisons are still allowed to receive kickbacks called “site commissions” which facilities charge the phone companies for allowing them to do business on their land.
The FCC said about the kick backs:
The Fcc said: “States and other correctional facilities to curtail or prohibit such payments as part of an effort to further ensure that inmates and their families have access to ICS (Inmate Calling Services) at affordable rates.”ee
In a Research Update for Global Tel*link, who is the biggest jail/prison phone company and also used here in Washington state prisons, and also the most corrupt phone company I might add…Standard & Poor’s said about the FCC decision to cap rates: “the new regulations could hurt Global Tel*link Corp.’s (GTL) profitability and credit metrics, although the timeframe and magnitude of the potential impact remains uncertain.”
I must say, this is a crazy statement, what remains uncertain is th future of the prison phone industry as far as how much more they are gonna be allowed to get away with and rip people off. Also what is uncertain is how people will be able to keep in contact with their people because of the prices.
And they had the nerve to say that they are hurting…what? how are they hurting? These companies make BILLIONS of dollars exploiting people and ripping them off, how is that hurting?
The ones who are hurting, are people in prison like me, and can’t talk to their families because the price of the calls, and the families who can’t keep in contact with their incarcerated loved ones because they can’t pay.
Also, the phone companies with their monopolization, are hurting the phone industry, giving it a bad name & destroying it’s credibility & validity, breaking all these laws, the corruption and paying millions a year in fines and lawsuits.
What I don’t understand is these phone companies like Global Tel*Link & Securus conduct illegal business and they end up paying millions of $$$ dollars a year in fines and court lawsuits, so why do they do it? Is that considered the cost of doing business? It would seem that they are actually loosing money and also they are loosing contracts with jails/prisons because the contracts are getting terminated because the officials don’t want the headaches of doing business with the companies. Now before we move on, let’s take a minute to acknowledge and give credit to some of the major activists and players who made it possible to get the rates lowered, because their lawsuits, complaints, lobbying, publicity and hardwork is what made it possible to relieve the hardships placed on us incarcerated people and our families, and reign in on the monopolizing:
Martha Wright, her grandson Ulandis Forte did a 20 year bid and was released, sadly Ms. Wright passed away last year (2014). And the attorney who represented them against the phone industry: Lee Petro, Kay Perry of Cure, Cure, Equitable Telephone Charges (eTc) Campaign, Pauline Sullivan & Paul Sullivan from Cure, Campaign for Prison Phone Justice, Media Action Grassroots Network, Human Rights Defense Center, Prison Legal News, Prison Policy Initiative, Working Narratives, Ms. Clybur if the FCC, The FCC & Congressman Bobby Rush.
Once again thanks to those people, and anyone else who helped in this battle, may you be rewarded by God.
How to Complain if you or family was affected by the prison phone industry:
call the FCC: 1-888-225-5322
on the web: https://consumercomplaints.fcc.gov
write the FCC–FFF Complaints Division 445 12th St.SW Washington,DC 20554
if you need help contact these 2 organizations:
Prison Legal News PO box 1151 Lake Worth,FL 33460
CURE PO box 2310 Washington,DC 20013
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