Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Play

Groups representing young people in Montana hope to stop a slate of election laws from going into effect before a June primary; Texas falls short on steps to prevent the next winter power outage.

Play

Democrats get voting rights legislation to Senate floor; Sec. of State Antony Blinken heads to Ukraine; a federal appeals court passes along a challenge to Texas' abortion ban.

Play

New website profiles missing and murdered Native Americans; more support for young, rural Minnesotans who've traded sex for food, shelter, drugs or alcohol; more communities step up to solve "period poverty;" and find your local gardener - Jan. 29 is National Seed Swap Day.

A Mother's Day “Hangup” For Prisoners

Play

Thursday, May 10, 2012   

BOSTON - A Massachusetts prison inmate calling his or her mother on Mother's Day could pay as much as $.86 a minute. In some states, a collect call from jail can cost up to $2.75 a minute. Advocacy groups say these charges are additional burdens for families trying to provide support for incarcerated loved ones.

Lee Petro, a lawyer and expert on prison telephone service contracts, says it's because of monopolies that benefit phone companies and give commissions or "kickbacks" to state governments.

"In states where there are pre-existing contracts that involve commissions that are being paid to the local governments or state governments, a 15-minute phone call can cost more than $20."

The Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Cable is considering a case that calls for a review of what petitioners say are "unjust and unreasonable" rates. Historically, high rates have been rationalized by the need to monitor jailhouse calls. Advocates say better technology has brought those costs down, but inmates and their families still pay exorbitant rates.

Bonnie Tenneriello represents prisoners and families asking the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Cable to review and revise jailhouse phone rates. She is optimistic they will hear the case.

"Our petitioners are complaining that the prison rates make it impossible for them to stay in touch, and we've presented a wealth of evidence that these rates are unreasonable and excessive."

Steven Renderos is an organizer of Mother's Day of Action, to be held on Friday. He is collecting stories about prisoners and families affected by the high-cost phone calls, then will send them to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), he says.

"It's an opportunity to elevate stories from families, from people who have loved ones behind bars. We're going to send those stories directly to the FCC, because the Federal Communications Commission has a direct role to play in addressing the rates of phone calls within prisons."

Lee Petro says high prison phone prices can drive a wedge between inmates and their families that, in the long run, burdens society.

"It's a proven fact, over and over again, that the level of contact they had while they were in prison - with their family and their social network - renders their re-entry into society more beneficial, more stable, and they are less likely to commit crime down the line."

Advocates say the problem affects those hardest-pressed to cope with it, pointing out that some 2.3 million people are incarcerated in America, nearly 40 percent of them black and nearly 20 percent Latino.




get more stories like this via email

According to the state, 4 million California students owe a total of $147 billion in student debt. A new state program aims to help new students reduce that debt through public service. (Pathdoc/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

The State of California is launching a new program that will pay college students $10,000 to volunteer doing public service work for a year. …


Environment

A coalition of more than 100 local elected officials is pleading for action on the Public Lands Act, a bill that would add protections for more than …

Social Issues

It's been nearly a year since North Dakota began collecting racial data on people accused of committing crimes - a process that paves the way for a re…


In a September report from the Pew Research Center, about 40% of parents said they've become less strict about managing their kids' screen time since the pandemic began. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

Excessive screen time can cause a host of negative side effects in kids, but as some Indiana schools go virtual because of the omicron variant…

Social Issues

The second year of the 134th Ohio General Assembly officially starts today, as both the state House and Senate convene. One of the most urgent tasks …

Even if someone in need receives brand new winter gear that was donated, humanitarian groups say there's a good chance some of those items can become lost or damaged over the course of a cold season and need to be replaced. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

South Dakota is seeing another round of below-freezing temperatures. As folks bundle up, Salvation Army chapters hope they'll consider donating …

Social Issues

Groups representing young people in Montana hope to stop a slate of election laws from going into effect before the state's primary in June. The …

Social Issues

Colorado and other states are hoarding more than $6 billion intended for struggling families, according to new analysis. In 2020, Colorado denied …

 

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