Friday, July 23, 2021

Play

More than 10,000 NY and NJ airport workers will get health insurance as part of new contract negotiations; and Dr. Jill Biden is in Tokyo for the Olympic Games.

Play

Drama builds over who will serve on the House January 6th panel; Senate tries to hold tech accountable for COVID misinformation; and VP Harris promotes a path to citizenship for Dreamers.

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

While most electricity in Utah is generated by gas or coal-powered plants, one regional utility is considering the nuclear option. (brianguest/Adobe Stock)

Environment

SALT LAKE CITY -- In the push toward carbon-free energy production, some cities in Utah and nearby states are considering a new type of nuclear …


Health and Wellness

TAMPA, Fla. -- Move United's USA Wheelchair Football League is expanding from four cities to nine, including Tampa, to give athletes with …

Environment

CRAIG, Colo. -- What would it look like if one in four households in the country was solar-powered? A new report from the "30 Million Solar Homes" …


According to the American Heart Association, one in five cardiac arrests occurs in public, such as on a job site. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

DES MOINES, Iowa -- People across the Midwest, including Iowans, have dealt with a series of heat waves this summer. Health experts say hotter …

Social Issues

NEW YORK -- Over 10,000 New York and New Jersey front-line airport workers will get health insurance as part of new contract negotiations that come at…

More than 400 laws have been introduced this year that would restrict voting rights across the country. (Lakshmiprasad/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

INDIANAPOLIS -- Voting-rights advocates applaud this week's federal appeals-court decision to prevent Indiana from purging some voters from the rolls …

Environment

BOSTON -- A new survey finds widespread public support up and down the East Coast for protecting right whales from getting tangled up in fishing gear…

Environment

CARSON CITY, Nev. - A bill just introduced in the U.S, Senate would help thousands of species stay off the Endangered Species List - including …

 

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