by. Nick Szuberla, Campaign for Prison Phone Justice
In 1998, as a volunteer DJ for a community radio station in the Central Appalachian coalfields, I began broadcasting the voices of prisoner families. As part of a plan to bolster our failing economy, their loved ones had been shipped into our community to populate two new supermax prisons. Later, I learned that one of the reasons families liked to call into the show to shout or sing their greetings to the incarcerated, was that it presented a way for them to avoid the exorbitant cost of conversing with them by telephone.
The first prisoners sent to fill our supermax prisons came directly from Washington, DC. Little did I know, that, 15 years later, I would find myself planning to stand with some of them outside the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) building there, in order to demand the commission put an end to the practice of prison phone call gouging. But on Nov. 15th, along with a coalition of artists, media activists, prisoner families, and District residents, I'll be doing just that. I hope you can join us.
Strong Families, Safe Communities Rally and News Conference
When: Thursday, November 15, 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Where: Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th St. SW, Washington D.C., 20554
RSVP: Please let Steven Renderos of the Center for Media Justice your planning to attend
Since I first started airing those heartfelt calls on the radio station, I've gained enough experience to know that there's a nation inside our nation, one that includes the nearly three-million U.S. children with one or both parents incarcerated. Unregulated phone rates would dampen any family's ability to stay connected, imagine what they do to family's already reeling from a prison sentence.
The Campaign for Prison Phone Justice is fighting telecommunication companies that have decided to treat these vulnerable families as cash cows. Others have heard the call as well. Just recently, the New York Times' editorial section published a piece criticizing the money-making scheme, and we believe thousands more will stand up and say enough is enough.
Though we haven't won that battle yet, we can put the pressure on by showing the FCC we mean business. Please encourage friends and family to join the Campaign for Prison Phone Justice!