The FCC can finally hammer predatory prison phone call companies, thanks to just-passed bill

The FCC can finally hammer predatory prison phone call companies, thanks to just-passed bill

, the FCC can now hammer predatory prison telephone call companies.

The Federal Communications Commission will be able to regulate rates in the notoriously predatory prison call industry with a brand-new law that is only waiting for the president’s signature. Companies may decide to stop making solid products at a reasonable price under the threat of being forced to do so. This will open up the market for a more compassionate, forward-thinking generation.

The state and prison system are the two main factors that determine the prison calling system. They generally run the gamut. Good enough To It is shockingly terrible. Companies were literally held captive by their customers, so they had no reason to innovate. Financial models that involved kickbacks to prisons and states incentivized income to all costs.

Inmates are routinely subject to exorbitant rates for simple services such as phone calls and video (an upsell), and they have even had their visitation rights revoked, making paid calls the only option. This particular financial burden falls heavily on people of color, those with low incomes, as it is a billion-dollar industry.

It’s been like this for a long time. Former FCC commissioner Mignon Cllyburn spent many years trying to change it. When I spoke with her in 2017,Before she left the agency she called an inmate calling it “the clearest and most glaring kind of market failure I have ever seen as regulator.” She worked on this issue for years, but she gave a lot credit to Martha Wright Reed, a grandmother who organized reform efforts right up to her death.

The bill is today named after Martha Wright-Reed. It’s a simple billThe bill gives the FCC the power to “ensure just and reasonable charges telephone and advanced communication services in correctional or detention facilities.” (The bill passed both the House and Senate. President Biden will sign it soon after the holiday address, Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s visit, and festivities relating the spending bill pass.

“The FCC has been working hard to address this terrible problem for years, but we have been limited as to the extent we can address calls made within a state’s borders rates,” stated Jessica Rosenworcel, FCC chairwoman. “Today, Senators Duckworth, Portman, and their bipartisan coalition, gave the FCC the authority to close the glaring, painful and detrimental loopholes in our phones rate rules to incarcerated persons.” (She also thanked Wright and Clyburn.

Free Press We have collected many other comments All interested parties praised the legislation to curb “carceral profiteering”, and generally benefit inmates, rather than continuing to treat them as a source of labor or easy money.

It’s great that costs will drop as soon as the FCC can make and pass a rule regarding the matter. However, the impact will likely be more than just savings.

Many companies that are still in existence today will see a reduction in revenues and increased scrutiny from the FCC. The FCC may require reports or take any other measures necessary to enforce new rules. It wouldn’t surprise if many of these companies decided to leave while the going’s good.

We’ve seen some states adopting new models like Ameelio’s to bring regulation to a space like this that has been dominated for many years by legacy providers. They started the startup to send postcards to prisoners for free. But soon, they built a modern digital video calling infrastructure which is far more affordable and easier to use than the legacy ones.

Ameelio is now operating in three states. It can also be used as a basis for activities such as education and legal advocacy in prisons. The cost is lower and access is much easier. (As the founders found out, and went on forming Ameelio). Emerge Career.)

A bunch of unsavory companies in a rush to leave can lead to a market opportunity for states looking for providers. Ameelio will no doubt be looking to fill some of these gaps, but it is likely that other companies will step in to help.

We need to reform the prison system, but it will happen slowly, as we see here.

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