The Wright Petition conversation continues on the FCC’s public docket
Although the Comment Period on the Wright Petition to make the cost of prison phone calls affordable closed in late April 2013, organizations and individuals continue to add their voices to the conversation.
In the past two weeks, prison phone companies like Pay Tel Communications, Securus Technologies and CenturyLink filed letters to the FCC regarding the Wright Petition, mostly continuing to defend kickbacks and overcharging.
HRDC, one of the leaders of the Campaign for Prison Phone Justice, submitted a letter on June 8, 2013 that both added new data to the docket and acknowledged that they had misidentified CenturyLink as the owner of the company ICSolutions, and had therefore reported that prison phone contracts with New Hampshire and Wyoming were with CenturyLink, rather than ICSolutions. HRDC submitted revised versions of the exhibits that show both the corrections and new data.
The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau also submitted a letter, noting the website www.prisonphonejustice.org was a valuable source of data on the prison phone contracts and commissions. As the Wireline Competition Bureau points out in the letter, the website has “readily available information” which “may be relevant to a number of issues raised in the proceeding.”
This site is especially important given what counsel for Martha Wright pointed out today: that opponents of the Petitioners’ proposed rate caps “failed to provide the detailed cost data and associated information specifically requested by the FCC, and therefore, “opponents “may no longer – both reasonably and legally – object to the FCC’s adoption of the Petitioners’ proposal based on the information submitted into the record.” In other words, prison phone companies and others that said “no” to the more affordable rates largely refused to publicly declare the kinds of fees they are charging for prisoners and their loved ones to talk on the phone.
Free Press submitted a letter on June 7, reporting a May 29, 2013 meeting between representatives from public interest groups, counsel for the Wright Petitioners and Securus. While, Free Press writes, “the parties are unable to agree on an appropriate per-minute rate for ICS calls,” in fact, “the parties do agree that certain practices, which serve to artificially inflate the cost of prison phone calls, are egregious and should be eliminated.”
According to Free Press’s letter, the conversation will continue.