Obama Admin. Approves Plan to Make Prison Phone Calls More Affordable

In a controversial vote Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission approved a plan to “Ensuring Just, Reasonable, & Fair Rates for Inmate Calling” and would place a cap on the amount of money that communications companies charge convicts to make phone calls in jails and prisons across the country.

“One of the incentives to have cellphones in prison is the absurd and usurious cost inmates face,” said FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler. “Today we are dealing with that.”

Before Thursday’s 3-2 vote, phone service providers could charge a prisoner up to 89¢ a minute per call. The FCC’s new order limits inmate phone charges at 11¢ per minute in state or federal prisons.

“Today’s vote will never make up for the inactions of the past, but it is my hope that the order will finally bring relief to those that have waited for so long,” said FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn who championed the proposal.

Clyburn hit Twitter Thursday with a flurry of tweets, enlisting the hashtag , and said she has “made inmate calling reform one of my top priorities.”

Leftist actor Mark Ruffalo also got in on the act, calling the FCC vote a “Victory.”

The FCC order is part of the Obama administration’s ongoing prison inmate overhaul. Earlier this month, President Obama’s Department of Justice announced its plan to grant the early release of about 6,000 convicts from prison—it will be the largest scheduled release of federal prisoners in American history.


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