skip to main content

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

play newscast audioPlay

Lawmakers consider changes to Maine's Clean Election law, Florida offers a big no comment over "arranged" migrant flights to California, and the Global Fragility Act turns U.S. peacekeeping on its head.

play newscast audioPlay

A bipartisan effort aims to preserve AM radio, the Human Rights Campaign declares a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people, and the Atlanta City Council approves funding for a controversial police training center.

play newscast audioPlay

Oregon may expand food stamp eligibility to some undocumented households, rural areas have a new method of accessing money for roads and bridges, and Tennessee's new online tool helps keep track of cemetery locations.

A Mother's Day “Hangup” For Prisoners

play audio
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 Mars Veterinary Health study, nearly 41,000 additional veterinarians will be needed to meet the needs of companion animal health care by 2030. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

In Arizona, telemedicine is now not only available for humans but also for people's beloved animals. Last month Governor Katie Hobbs signed Senate …


Environment

play sound

Ruybal Fox Creek Ranch sits in a dramatic canyon in the foothills of southern Colorado's San Juan Mountains, right next to the Rio Grande National …

Health and Wellness

play sound

North Dakota officials are urging people receiving health coverage through a key public program to stay on top of their renewal if they are still elig…


According to the report, there was a 14% increase among Nevada seniors accessing high-speed internet between 2016 and 2021. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

play sound

Nevada has received an overall score of 43 in the nation for the health and well-being of its seniors in the state. According to the United Health …

Social Issues

play sound

A court hearing next week could help determine whether an eastern South Dakota mayor will face a recall election. Events are rare for this state…

A new measure in this year's report shows many older adults spent more than 30% of their income on housing. (Adobe stock)

Social Issues

play sound

Indiana ranks closer to the bottom of U.S. states where you will find healthy seniors living than the top, according to a new report. …

Social Issues

play sound

The last day of school for Texas kids is typically one of elation, but for children in rural areas with high poverty rates, it also can mean …

Environment

play sound

Virginia environmental advocates are not happy with the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision on the Clean Water Act. The ruling in Sackett versus E-P-…

 

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