Pablo Tapia, Assembly of Civil Rights in Minneapolis Minnesota, talks about what the Campaign for Prison Phone Justice means for him and his family.
The Campaign for Prison Phone Justice is challenging prison phone kickbacks and the U.S. Prison Telephone Industry. Currently, up to 60% of the costs of calls from prison has nothing to do with the cost of the phone service provided. So when Mary talks to her husband 40% percent of the cost is for the service and 60% is a kickback to the state government.
Here’s how it works:
The vast majority of states receive kickbacks from phone companies, which result in higher phone rates.
These excessive rates further distance prisoners from their families, who can ill afford high phone bills. While most prisoners are from urban areas, virtually all prisons built in the last 30 years have been built in rural areas far from where most prisoners have family or community ties.
The nation is disadvantaged when prisoners are unable to maintain family ties that will help them succeed post-release. There is a widely-known and researched correlation between prisoners who maintain contact with their families and those who are successful in staying out of prison after they are released.
Most states profit handsomely from prison phone kickbacks, to the tune of over $152 million a year nationwide.
Monopolies are only prohibited in the non-prison market. Prison phone service providers are free to bid on contracts at the maximum rates allowed and upon winning are effectively granted a monopoly.
Learn more and join the campaign today by going to www.phonejustice.org.