Issue Dive: Prison Phone Service Costs

Yesterday, we profiled one of Kapor Capital’s newest investment portfolio companies, Pigeon.ly, and its founder, Frederick Huston, which delivers to incarcerated individuals and their families a cost-saving service, promotes critical contact between them, and offers a long-sought after alternative to monopolies on such service provision.

The issue of prison phone rates has been a long and troubling one, where the cost of a single 15 phone call could cost $15. But just last week, and after years of organizing by legal, criminal justice and civil rights advocates, as well as by prisoners and their families, a huge victory was won – the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued an order requiring phone companies to base rates on actual costs and cap them at 25 cents per minute while the Commission collects more data. The order also prohibits companies from charging deaf and hard-of-hearing customers extra for the use of relay services.

More on the order and the issue from Colorlines.org: FCC Issues Order to Lower Prison Phone Rates  And, on the organizing work behind it: The Secret Weapon in the Prison Phone Rate Fight? Families. 

Related grant recipient organizations:

Justice for Families – Justice for Families (J4F) is a national alliance of local organizations committed to ending the youth incarceration epidemic. We are founded and run by parents and families who have experienced the juvenile justice system with their children. – See more at: http://www.justice4families.org/about/our-work/#sthash.BeohhYtE.dpuf

ColorofChange.org – ColorOfChange.org exists to strengthen Black America’s political voice. Our goal is to empower our members – Black Americans and our allies – to make government more responsive to the concerns of Black Americans and to bring about positive political and social change for everyone.

 

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