Every year, 2.7 million children rely on a phone call to celebrate birthdays, holidays, and other special occasions with their incarcerated parent. Yet for many of these families, a short phone call is all they are able to afford, because greedy companies like Global Tel*Link and Securus continue to charge families excessively high rates for the right to talk to their loved ones.
Studies have shown that maintaining strong relationships between families and their incarcerated loved ones is critical to the process of reentry. The Federal Communications Commission attempted to make these phone calls more affordable but was sued by several of the largest prison telephone operators, including Securus and Global Tel*Link. These companies were successful in preventing the implementation of reforms that would have fixed this broken industry and made it easier for families to stay in touch.
That’s why Congress needs to step in. Just last month, Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois introduced the Inmate Calling Technical Corrections Act of 2018 (S.2520) which would address the need to eliminate predatory prison phone rates by restoring appropriate authority to the Federal Communications Commission to regulate local rates and additional fees. There is already bipartisan support for the bill, but in order to move it forward, we need to urge the chair of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, Sen. John Thune, to hold a hearing for, and support, the bill.
Urge Senator Thune to exercise his leadership to move this bill forward!
Dear Senator Thune,
Millions of families rely on phone calls to stay in touch with their incarcerated loved ones. For those who may be incarcerated miles away from their loved ones, phone calls are the most dependable method of communication and maintaining important relationships. Affordable prison phone rates have received nationwide attention and support. With your leadership we can finally protect vulnerable communities from predatory phone rates.
While long distance rates are currently capped, a recent court decision means that many families are continuing to suffer from the cost of excessively high local rates and additional fees. Senator Duckworth (D-Ilinois) has introduced federal legislation, S.2520 that would restore the Federal Communications Commission's authority to regulate and take action to protect consumers. Additional co-sponsors include Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J)., Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), and Rob Portman (R-Ohio).
As Chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, we ask you to exercise leadership and hold a hearing to consider the Inmate Technical Corrections Action S.2520 and vote to support the bill in committee and in the full Senate.