Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Play

Warnock projected to win in U.S. Senate race for Georgia; new report urges Governor-Elect to fix PA unemployment system; rising land prices pose challenges for VA farmers.

Play

The nation watches as votes are counted in the Senate runoff in Georgia, the House holds hearings in the lame-duck session, and Capitol Police Officers receive medals for their heroism on January 6.

Play

The first-ever "trout-safe" certification goes to an Idaho fish farm, the Healthy Housing Initiative helps improve rural communities' livability, and if Oklahoma is calling to you, a new database makes it easier for buyers and builders to find available lots.

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 Consumer Reports, crowded windowless "factory farms" likely contribute to salmonella and campylobacter bacteria in poultry. The consumer advocacy publication suggests choosing organic-raised poultry over conventional. It acknowledges organic production is more costly. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

A new study is focused on concerns for Nebraska waterways. The three-year, independently funded research identifies rising levels of phosphorus and …


Health and Wellness

Inside a massive appropriations bill now in Congress is a provision which would allow federal funding for dental therapists. Dental therapists …

Environment

Promoting access to nature for underserved communities can improve quality of life while bolstering biodiversity and fighting climate change…


Small businesses like the Goddess Mercado in East Los Angeles employ almost half of all private-sector workers in California. (Martin Gamez/Goddess Mercado)

Social Issues

This holiday season, shopping at local small businesses could bring them as much as $88 billion, according to a survey from Intuit QuickBooks…

Social Issues

Minnesota's projected budget surplus now stands at more than $17 billion, and supporters of clean energy projects and other infrastructure needs say …

Montana landowners and hunters have butted heads in the past about how to best manage the state's elk population. (kojihirano/Adobe Stock)

Environment

With Montana lawmakers looking at a large budget surplus, a group of hunters, scientists and landowners is asking them to consider creating a trust …

Environment

The Iowa Watershed Planning Advisory Council just released its annual report and said the Iowa Water Plan needs an update. The report showed climate …

Social Issues

By Phoebe Petrovic for Wisconsin Watch.Broadcast version by Mike Moen for Wisconsin News Connection reporting for Wisconsin Watch-Public News Service …

 

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