News

August 12, 2013

FCC slashes what prisoners pay for phone calls

WASHINGTON (AP) — A decade after families of prison inmates asked for action, the Federal Communications Commission agreed to limit how much companies can charge for phone calls made from behind bars.

The FCC voted 2-1 during an emotional meeting to cap interstate phone rates at 21 cents a minute for debit or prepaid calls and 25 cents a minute for collect calls. Companies wanting to set higher rates would have to file a request for a waiver and could not charge more until that waiver was granted.

"For 10 years, the families and friends of inmates have been asking the FCC to ease the burden of an inmate calling rate structure. Their wait is finally over," said FCC acting chairwoman Mignon Clyburn, who took over the interim spot in May.

Her voice, and that of commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, cracked with emotion as they read statements about the decision.

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