Phone Calls Prove Prohibitively Expensive For Prisoners | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Phone Calls Prove Prohibitively Expensive For Prisoners

Play associated audio
For many prisoners in the United States, making a phone call can be prohibitively expensive.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/andymw91/4804053349/
For many prisoners in the United States, making a phone call can be prohibitively expensive.

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton says there's a problem at U.S. prisons that is getting glossed over: the high cost of phone calls.

District resident Ulandis Forte knows the value of a phone call. Now a carpenter, he recounts how the phone was often his only link to the outside world during his 18 year prison stint.

"I needed to talk to my grandmother, so I could stay focused, so I could stay warm-hearted, so I wouldn't get lost," Forte says. "A lot of guys get lost in the prison system."

But prisoners often have to pay connecting fees before making what amounts to a collect call — sometimes costing up to $30 per call. Since the District doesn't have a federal prison, D.C. residents often are imprisoned far away, making family visits difficult or impossible.

Holmes Norton is urging the Federal Communications Commission to establish reasonable charges for calls from prison inmates to their families. She says it can help end the revolving door.

"The data doesn't show that there's much that you can do while the prisoner is incarcerated that will have an effect on recidivism," Holmes Norton says. "This is the one area, this family support and communication apparently makes a difference."

Holmes Norton says exclusive contracts between correctional facilities and telephone companies are the reason prices are so high, an issue she says the FCC can easily address.

NPR

Film About Campus Sexual Assault Tells Survivors: 'You Are Not Alone'

Survivors Annie Clark and Andrea Pino brought a Title IX complaint against the University of North Carolina. "This is not about UNC," Clark says. "We're not doing this to vilify our institution."
NPR

When Food Is Too Good To Waste, College Kids Pick Up The Scraps

Millions of tons of food are wasted on college campuses around the country, and students are noticing. Some of them are now rescuing food to make tasty meals for the needy and compost for gardens.
NPR

Jeb's Rowdy Supporters Help Him Escape The CPAC Lion's Den

The former Florida governor's supporters shouted down his hecklers at his much anticipated appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
NPR

A Neuroscientist Weighs In: Why Do We Disagree On The Color Of The Dress?

Robert Siegel speaks with Dr. Bevil Conway, a neuroscientist at Wellesley College, about the dress that has the whole Internet asking: What color is it?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.