FCC Consumer Advisory Committee Issues Recommendation Regarding Affordable Phone Access for Incarcerated Individuals and Families
On September 21, 2012, the FCC Consumer Advisory Committee (CAC) adopted a resolution urging the FCC to:
1. Ensure that the price of calls from inmates are (sic) reasonable
2. Restrict “commissions” paid by telephone companies to correctional institutions to a reasonable amount above the actual cost of providing the service
3. Encourage the use of prepaid debit accounts for inmates whereby inmates or their called parties may buy low- cost minutes, and
4. Continue to allow collect calls from inmates with charges that are a reasonable amount above the actual cost of providing the calls.
The resolution was drafted by the Center for Media Justice, and pushed through with the support of the Universal Working Group Chair, the Benton Foundation, and MAG-Net members Native Public Media and Media Literacy Project. The Universal Service Working Group presented the resolution to the full CAC, who passed the resolution with some groups abstaining. As the Universal Service Working Group is focused on communications access, especially for marginalized communities, the issue of access to telephone communication between prisoners and loved ones is a vital concern for the USWG.
The Campaign for Prison Phone Justice is pleased that the FCC CAC is taking a stand and telling the FCC to take action, and strongly urges other regulatory bodies (like NARUC and NASUCA) to pass similar resolutions to support the rights of prisoners and their familes.
See the full recommendation here.