A new bill could finally ban predatory inmate phone costs

For nearly two decades, criminal justice reform advocates have been fighting to fix a persistent and egregious flaw in the US prison system: the frequently exorbitant cost of inmate phone calls, which can run up to $17 for a 15-minute local phone call. A confluence of market failures, political intransigence, and public indifference has created a broken billing system that veteran Federal Communications Commission official Mignon Clyburn has called “the greatest, most distressing, type of injustice I have ever seen in the communications sector.”

Last Thursday, a bipartisan group of US senators introduced a bill that aims to restore federal authority to crack down on what prison reform advocates call the “usurious,” “abusive,” and “e…

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Author: Sam Gustin

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