Archive for December, 2016
Friday, December 30th, 2016
December 30, 2016 – 5: 30 pm
It has been an honor, the privilege, and a wild ride serving because Commissioner at the Federal…
The particular 12 Days of #PhoneInjustice Redux 888011000110888 You may have caught my tweetstorm over the past few days highlighting several examples of bad practices when it comes to our nation’s inmate calling services regime. Sadly, there are many more examples, particularly when considering city and county jails where some of the highest intrastate inmate contacting rates across the country remain in effect. Illinois County, Arkansas, for one, charges almost $25 for a 15 minute call; Clare County, Michigan charges $22. 56; and in a Natrona Region, Wyoming facility it costs $9. 47 to speak to an inmate with regard to 15 minutes. Contrast that with a fifteen minute voice call from a cellular provider at $0. 28, and also you see why families and children of inmates are as captive towards the system as their loved ones. Given that the median income of the male inmate just before incarceration is $19, 650, how do you suppose he (or the family left behind) can be expected to pay for a phone bill that is 8800% higher than before he began his sentence? And while voice rates and usage are on the decline for the majority of shoppers, charges for inmates continue to within most communities. In spite of attempts at reform when the FCC made substantial concessions as it voted to approve rates that much exceeded what the data for over 90% of the providers own unaudited numbers substantiated,, Inmate Calling Services (ICS) companies continue to fight to keep their particular excessive profits flowing. For example , once the FCC’s 2015 Order eliminated basically three ancillary fees (that historically added as much as 40% to the price of ICS calls), Securus, one of the largest providers of ICS, effectively moved the now disallowed connection costs into “first minute rates. ” On top of that, they lowered the pre-paid account maximum deposit, so that the organization would be able to continue charging inmates and their families exorbitant rates including when they add money into the inmate’s accounts! No one except an inmate and his/her family, pays more for the first minute of a call; no one except an inmate (family) pays a fee in order to PREPAY their telephone bill. No one. Some jurisdictions, it pains me to say, are as guilty with this egregious set-up as the provider. Special contracts granted on the basis of the highest payment to correctional facilities represents probably the most glaring examples of market failure I got witnessed in my 18 years as being a regulatory commissioner. Cuyahoga County, Kansas, for example , entered into an eight-year agreement with Securus which resulted in the 42% increase in the cost of ICS phone calls. The amount the correctional facilities received increased from $. 095 per minute ($800, 000/yr. ) to a assured $3 million for the first 2 yrs (for all services). All this, over the backs of families and public defenders who can afford this burden the least. These outrageous rates all but guarantee hard times for an inmate’s family and children, who in addition to bearing the burden (with one less paycheck) of an incarcerated loved one, have to pay a steep price for just maintaining contact. Gina Escalera will pay between $75 and $100 each month just to talk to her son. Omarah Zemorah only talks with the girl daughter three times a month because the cost is too high. These are just a couple of brands and faces among millions negatively impacted by high inmate phone prices. But I maintain hope because that exists too. Some states and localities are actually moving forward, instituting changes, and producing tough decision to forgo financial gain for the betterment of the correctional officials, inmates and the loved ones left behind. The particular positives of reduced ICS rates are well documented and have never experienced dispute. Officers benefit because an inmate who speaks with their loved ones on a regular basis maintains a better mental state and is more often than not, easier to manage; inmates advantage because those who keep in touch, readjust more readily upon release resulting in less recidivism and lower generational incarceration; and loved ones benefit because that will grandma who is now the primary caretaker can spend more money on as well as medicine for herself and the children instead of on high telephone expenses. I am also urged by the bicameral support of the U. S. Congress in bringing focus on these critical issues. Just a week ago, Senator Cory Booker and Congressman Bobby Rush, both leaders within the fight for ICS reform, introduced contingency resolutions (S. Con. Res. fifty eight and H. Con. Res. 180) expressing the sense of Our elected representatives that inmate phone rates should not exceed the affordable modified prices adopted by the FCC. And, Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth introduced a bill that could further establish a requirement for just and reasonable rates for ICS plus video visitation (H. R. 6441). So continue with me over the next twelve days, even as we will turn the page plus highlight the indisputable benefits of the reformed inmate calling services regime.
Tuesday, December 13th, 2016
December thirteen, 2016 – 9: 45 are
You may have caught our tweetstorm over the past…