FCC pushes states on prison calling rates

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is pressuring state governments to make it more affordable for prisoners to make phone calls.

{mosads}“The FCC has both the duty and the authority to act … if the states do not or cannot,” Democratic Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said during an agency workshop on inmate calling on Wednesday.

Last year, then-Acting Chairwoman Clyburn took steps to bring down the price of interstate calling for prisoners, including setting a temporary interstate rate cap.

Now the FCC has it’s eyes set on making that interstate rate cap permanent, addressing ancillary fees and bringing down calling prices for in-state calls, Clyburn and FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said.

“We have more work to do,” Clyburn said Wednesday, pointing to recently-passed regulation regarding inmate calling in Alabama.

“Alabama is the exception, not the norm,” she continued. “The call [for intra-state reform] has gone largely unanswered.”

She pushed states to adopt rate caps for in-state prison calls and said she hopes it doesn’t come to FCC intervention.

Wheeler — who praised Clyburn for having “pulled this issue out of purgatory” at the FCC — echoed Clyburn’s calls.

“We reocgnize that more needs to be done,” he said.

Tags Federal Communications Commission
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