Currently, making a 15-minute phone call from jail might cost you or the person you’re calling as much as $17. Those dollars add up: make three calls per week and you’re paying over $2600 per year just to talk to your loved ones. This week, the FCC ruled to put a stop to the price gouging.
Under the new rules, calls from state and federal prisons will be capped at a much more reasonable $1.65 for 15 minutes. Service charges that further boost the price of using the phone will also be banned.
This is great news for a population that is often impoverished to begin with: that $2600 yearly bill will cost just about $250 after the regulations take effect sometime next year. It’s bad news, of course, for the phone companies. Richard Smith, CEO of Securus Technologies, one of the leading prison phone providers, called the order to stop financially crippling families “a colossal error in judgement...patently wrong...beyond belief,” and vowed to take legal action to protect his cashflow.