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Mon Nov 19, 2012, 11:16 PM

Facing Rates Of $17 For 15 Minutes, FCC Takes Up Regulation Of Prison Phone Industry



Facing Rates Of $17 For 15 Minutes, FCC Takes Up Regulation Of Prison Phone Industry

Phone calls between prisoners and their families can cost as much as $17 for a 15-minute call, reaping generous profits in many states for both the phone companies that provide the service and the states, which receive what amount to legalized kickbacks. Recognizing the drastic obstacle these costs impose on children staying in touch with their parents, a bipartisan coalition launched a campaign this past Mother’s Day calling for regulation of this industry. On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission entertained these calls, announcing at a rally that it would seek public comment on prison phone rules and rates. In a scathing September report, the Prison Policy Initiative’s Drew Kukorowski explains why the industry needs regulating:

Exorbitant calling rates make the prison telephone industry one of the most lucrative businesses in the United States today. This industry is so profitable because prison phone companies have state-sanctioned monopolistic control over the state prison markets, and the government agency with authority to rein in these rates across the nation has been reluctant to offer meaningful relief.

Prison phone companies are awarded these monopolies through bidding processes in which they submit contract proposals to the state prison systems; in all but eight states, these contracts include promises to pay “commissions” — in effect, kickbacks — to states, in either the form of a percentage of revenue, a fixed up-front payment, or a combination of the two. Thus, state prison systems have no incentive to select the telephone company that offers the lowest rates; rather, correctional departments have an incentive to reap the most profit by selecting the telephone company that provides the highest commission.

The prison telephone market is structured to be exploitative because it grants monopolies to producers, and because the consumers — the incarcerated persons and their families who are actually footing the bills — have no comparable alternative ways of communicating.


-snip-

Full article here: http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/11/19/1214071/facing-rates-of-17-for-15-minutes-fcc-takes-up-regulation-of-prison-phone-industry/




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Reply Facing Rates Of $17 For 15 Minutes, FCC Takes Up Regulation Of Prison Phone Industry (Original post)
Tx4obama Nov 2012 OP
Berserker Nov 2012 #1
cpamomfromtexas Nov 2012 #2
proud2BlibKansan Nov 2012 #3
demosincebirth Nov 2012 #4
Left Coast2020 Nov 2012 #5
Whovian Nov 2012 #6
kickysnana Nov 2012 #7
coalition_unwilling Nov 2012 #8

Response to Tx4obama (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 11:21 PM

1. If you have ever

 

had a loved one or a friend in jail not just prison you will pay out your ass for a phone call and it pissed me off a time or two.

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Response to Tx4obama (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 11:49 PM

2. They also charge them exhorbitant amounts

Last edited Tue Nov 20, 2012, 01:51 AM - Edit history (1)

For soap and toiletries


I have a friend in jail, railroaded. Court appointed attorneys are lazy.

I'm convinced there are kickbacks everywhere.

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Response to Tx4obama (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 11:52 PM

3. It's about time!

This is a horrible ripoff for inmates' families. I've complained about this for YEARS. Found out about it a long time ago when a student's father was incarcerated and she couldn't talk to him because her family couldn't afford it.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #3)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 12:44 AM

4. I agree with all of you.

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Response to Tx4obama (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 02:07 AM

5. I'm hoping Gov. Brown will address for profit prisons here on Calif.

I caught something in the paper about it during the summer.

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Response to Tx4obama (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 02:10 AM

6. It's about time. Jails and prisons in this area are the real criminals. n/t

 

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Response to Tx4obama (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 04:20 AM

7. Ran into one of these companies at the Greyhound Sta Columbia MO

Only pay phone there. If you put any calling card in there it would drain your card. I started taking my cell phone. The last time I was through there they posted a warning,

People were lending cell phones. Must be a good size prison there somewhere judging from the number riding Greyhound from there.

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Response to Tx4obama (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 04:47 AM

8. During a previous stint of long-term unemployment, I had the misfortune of

 

working a temp customer service job for one of these prison phone providers (PCS, Inc. in West Los Angeles). What a scummy place to work - felt like I needed to take a shower after I got home from work each day just to wash the stench of exploitation off me. Seldom have I felt as creeped out by a job as I did that one.

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