Commission payment Continues Important Work of Supplying Relief from the High Cost of Inmate Phoning

On This summer 9, 2014 the FCC kept a workshop to analyze the impact of, and discuss issues relating to, ongoing reforms of Inmate Phoning Services (ICS).

Last fall, the Commission – according to a petition that had languished for almost a decade – reformed what it concluded was an unjust, unreasonable, and unfair ICS rate construction by adopting a Report and Order and Further Discover of Proposed Rulemaking (Order) on the subject. Among other things, the Purchase capped interstate rates at $0. 21/minute for debit and prepaid calls and $0. 25/minute regarding collect inmate calling. These prices took effect on February 11, 2014.

By holding this particular workshop, the Commission highlights the continued commitment to ensure just, reasonable and fair rates, by web hosting frank and open discussions with groups representing diverse points associated with view, including ICS providers, public policy leaders, elected officials, correctional facility officials, human rights institutions, and inmate advocacy groups.

We heard about the impact that the Commission’s reforms have had on inmates and their friends plus families, but also learned that there is more to be done. For example , we found that:

  • Decreased calling rates have increased call volumes and connectivity between inmates and family and friends — and this increased connectivity may reduce recidivism prices.
  • Ancillary fees often account for 30 to 40 percent of end-user charges, and for that reason can significantly decrease the money end users have available for placing phone calls.
  • Many facilities do not have a deaf and tough of hearing accessibility plan in place and are unaware of the communications needs of these inmates, leaving these inmates vulnerable and their families with little if any means of contact.
  • Very little has been done to alleviate the particular challenges faced by deaf plus hard of hearing inmates since the Commission released the Order.
  • The Alabama Community Service Commission has taken significant simple steps toward intrastate ICS reform, including the adoption of tiered rate caps and restrictions on both the forms of, and rates that providers can charge in, ancillary fees.
  • Federal detention facilities operated by Immigration and Customs Observance offer inmate calling rates, which usually exclude site commissions but include robust security features, well beneath the Commission’s caps.
  • New communications technologies are being developed in the ICS market towards the benefit of inmates and their buddies and families, but these new systems must be continuously updated to respond to client demand and monitored to avoid unexpected misuse.

We thank all of the participants in our workshop. For those who were unable to attend, you can get more information, as well as a link to an aged video, here: http://www.fcc.gov/events/workshop-further-reform-inmate-calling-services.

Panelists also discussed the need for increased transparency. We remind parties that responses to the one-time mandatory information collection for all ICS providers are usually due on or before Aug 18, 2014. This data can help address any lack of transparency encircling the industry as well as help the Commission payment move forward with our commitment to ensure that ICS providers continue to provide secure defendent calling at just, reasonable, and reasonable rates. Data submitted by providers will be available to the public pursuant to a protective order. More information on the information collection and how to obtain access to the data might be found here: http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/ics-mandatory-data-collection.

Thank you.


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