Human Rights Watchdog Applauds FCC for Investigating Price Gouging of U.S. Prisoners


A human rights group on Nov. 15 praised the Federal Communication Commission’s proposal to cap the rates charged to families of prisoners.

SumOfUs.org, a non-profit consumer and citizen rights group, praised regulation circulated a day earlier which it said would be a key turning point in a decade-long multi-organization campaign to protect the poorest families in the nation from predatory telephone charges.

“For over a decade the FCC let this injustice continue. It’s time the FCC made sure prison phone companies cannot prey on the 2.7 million kids in the U.S. who have a parent in prison and rely on phone calls to provide stability, comfort and a sense of normalcy,” Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, executive director of SumOfUs.org, said in a statement.

“But under the weight of growing public opinion it is about to take the critical first step toward regulating prison phone costs,” she added. “We commend the FCC and call on them to accept and implement the rule. People all over the Unites States are sick of the privatization of public services, from schools to hospitals to prisons.”

The announcement was made at a rally outside the FCC offices where SumOfUs.org and the Prison Policy Initiative submitted comments from 36,690 SumOfUs members. A coalition of organizations including Media Action Grassroots Network, Working Narratives, Prison Legal News and Participant Media also collected submissions to the FCC.

“This is a big step forward for fairness,” Drew Kukorowski of the Prison Policy Initiative said in a statement. “The Federal Communications Commission is the only disinterested party with the power to protect the real consumers: incarcerated people and their families.”

The next step is for the FCC Commissioners to vote on the text of a “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.” If successful, the FCC would open a new comment period for the public and the prison telephone industry to submit evidence on whether the regulation should be implemented.

Human Rights Watchdog Applauds FCC for Investigating Price Gouging of U.S. Prisoners

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