Sunday, September 19, 2021

Play

Hundreds of wealthy Americans back the Biden Build Back Better Act; Roger Stone is served with a warrant on live radio; and family caregivers are in need of assistance.

Play

Virginia gubernatorial candidates debate; former federal prosecutor Michael Sussmann indicted for lying to FBI; lawmakers set to question oil industry over climate disinformation; and FDA scientists express skepticism over booster shots.

Play

Lawsuits stall debt relief for America's Black farmers; Idaho hospitals using "critical care" protocols; grant money boosts rural towns in Utah and more conservation acreage could protect the iconic sage grouse.

MA Lawmakers Consider Free Phone Calls from Prisons, Jails

Play

Monday, September 28, 2020   

BOSTON, Mass. -- As COVID-19 spreads through prisons and jails, there's legislation - both state and federal - to curb the high price of phone calls for people who are incarcerated, including in Massachusetts.

In some parts of the country, a 15-minute call from behind bars can cost $25. Close to 20 U.S. senators want to make these calls free as a part of a coronavirus relief package, which so far is stalled.

Massachusetts State Senator Cynthia Creem is the sponsor of a Commonwealth bill to make calls from prisons and jails free during the pandemic. She said she sees it as a crucial accommodation.

"The importance of a lifeline between the families and their prisoner is so important," Creem said. "Not only is it important for the person in the prison, it's important for the children who have a parent in prison."

But phone charges are revenue-generators for the corrections system, and some Massachusetts sheriffs worry that making them free would force cuts to programs. Another bill would lower but not eliminate the cost of these calls.

Creem hopes current state budget negotiations will include either bill. The senator pointed out that facilities in the Massachusetts Department of Correction make a lot of money from people making phone calls from jail or prison.

"In 2018, Massachusetts prisons and jails made $9 million in commissions by charging prisoners outrageous prices to talk to their loved ones," she said.

In terms of its budget, she added, the department generally gets the resources it asks for from the state and could survive without the phone revenue. In recent years, the cities of New York and San Francisco have passed laws to make phone calls from jails free.


get more stories like this via email

A panel of House Democrats proposes raising $2.9 trillion in new taxes to pay for President Joe Biden's "Build Back Better" plan through higher tax rates for wealthy Americans. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

RICHMOND, Va. - As U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., takes heat this week for attending a posh fundraiser in a dress that said "Tax the …


Environment

EAST TROY, Wis. - Wisconsin farmers are looking ahead to the fall harvest, and those who use cover crops face a deadline to sign up for a research …

Social Issues

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - The pandemic is shining a new light on the burdens felt by family caregivers, and a bill in Congress would remove some of the …


Republican lawmakers across the country have proposed legislation to limit or forbid the teaching of such concepts as racial equity and white privilege. (Kelly Lacy/Pexels)

Social Issues

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - State Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, is lashing out against the idea of Critical Race Theory, filing a bill to ban its use in all …

Social Issues

PORTLAND, Ore. - Wealthy Americans have a message for Congress: Tax us more. More than 200 high-income taxpayers and business owners have sent an …

Better flood resiliency is top of mind in New York, after scenes like the Long Island Expressway's partial shutdown in Tropical Storm Ida. But who will pay for it? (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

ALBANY, N.Y. - As a U.S. House committee debates the Biden administration's "Build Back Better" Act, a letter from more than 200 wealthy Americans …

Social Issues

By Sonali Kolhatkar for Yes! Media. Broadcast version by Lily Bohlke for Commonwealth News Service reporting for the YES! Media-Public News Service …

Environment

MANCHESTER, N.H. - Three New Hampshire professors are among those who've signed a letter urging the United Nations General Assembly to adopt what's …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021