Louisiana’s move earlier this month to reduce the high cost of inmate telephone calls has been “validated” by news that the Federal Communications Commission is taking steps nationally to limit the cost of inmate calls, said Foster Campbell, chairman of the Louisiana Public Service Commission.
Today the FCC issued a “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” to consider changes
to its rules governing rates for inmate calls that cross state lines.
“Today, we officially answer the call from tens of thousands of consumers who have written, emailed, and yes, phoned the FCC, pleading for relief on interstate long-distance rates from correctional facilities,” said Mignon Clyburn, FCC member from South Carolina.
Clyburn said family and friends of the incarcerated typically pay “significantly higher” rates than those offered for the typical interstate, long-distance call.
Campbell led the effort at the Louisiana PSC to lower the cost of calls from Louisiana prisons to families in the state. He said the FCC’s decision confirmed the LPSC’s December 12th vote.
“We now have validation of the unanimous vote of the Louisiana PSC to lower inmate calling charges by 25 percent and end the illegal practice of adding fees and charges to the phone bills of inmate families,” Campbell said.
“Louisiana has corrected an unjust, unreasonable and unfair situation, and now the federal government is looking at the cost of calls that cross state lines.”
Inmate calls typically originate in prison and are charged collect to family and friends of the prisoner. Prisons contract with exclusive telephone providers to handle inmate calls.
Campbell said the cost of these calls in Louisiana will drop by roughly a third thanks to the LPSC decision.
“I appreciate all the people who helped to make the unanimous LPSC decision possible despite fierce opposition from the incarceration industry,” he said. “This was a just action by a governmental body to benefit the least of these in our state.”