Illinois Campaign for Prison Phone Justice

To expose phone companies charging exorbitant rates and bring justice to families who have loved ones incarcerated by making affordable the cost of phone calls from jails and prisons in Illinois.

Media Inquiries

Brian Dolinar - Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center - (217) 621-5827

Press Releases

The Campaign for Prison Phone Justice responds to a court stay on the FCC's sweeping reforms. Some ancillary fees will eliminated on March 17, 2016 when the new rules take effect, but families of those incarcerated will have to wait to see if lower rates will be adopted.
A new report on electronic monitoring by James Kilgore discusses this technology in the context of police surveillance and the ever-expanding mass incarceration system in the United States.
We submitted our findings on the growing trend of video visitations in jails and prisons throughout Illinois. We found that several counties have eliminated face-to-face visits after installing video visitation, which we believe seriously threatens the ability of families to stay connected to loved ones incarcerated.
For ten years, Champaign County has provided inexpensive and efficient phone services at a small-sized jail with NO commissions. This contradicts the National Sheriffs' Association which argues that small jails have more costly phone services. The below letter was submitted to the FCC which will soon rule on whether to eliminate all commissions.
Illinois now has the highest commissions in the country, with $12 million collected by the Illinois Department of Corrections each year from families with loved ones incarcerated.
Illinois stands as a leader in the nation for its expensive prison phone rates. In 2012, the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) took in an astronomical $12 million in “site commissions,” or “kickbacks,” among the highest of any state in the country.The high costs are largely due to a virtual monopoly by Securus Technologies, which has the contract for the IDOC. Securus also operates phone services in nearly 80 percent of Illinois county jails and all prisons. We call on the FCC to make affordable phone calls from prisons and jails.
In a welcome bipartisan move, a bill helping those incarcerated stay in contact with loved ones passed the Senate with a unanimous vote and is expected to pass the House on concurrence with a strong bipartisan vote.
A bill signed into law today cuts in half the cost of phone calls from Illinois prisons.

Press Coverage

Truthout, November 20, 2016

Illinois Public Media, August 22, 2016

WCIA Champaign, April 24, 2016

GOOD, January 5, 2016

The Daily Beast, December 27, 2015

Truthout, December 1, 2015

Truthout, October 28, 2015

WCIA Champaign, October 23, 2015

Al Jazeera America, October 23, 2015

NPR, October 21, 2015

Truthout, October 19, 2015

International Business Times, October 16, 2015

TIME, October 9, 2015

Chicago Reporter, August 19, 2015

Truthout, July 28, 2015

Truthout, February 15, 2015

WCIA Channel 3, February 11, 2015

Peoria Public Radio, April 26, 2016

Illinois Times, May 12, 2016

News-Gazette, May 31, 2016

State Journal-Register, June 4, 2016

WGN-Chicago, August 23, 2016

Illinois Public Media, August 22, 2016