More information is available at www.prisonphonejustice.org
Here's why I believe you should support this campaign:
Society has changed considerably since my incarceration began in 2006. At my house in New York City, my family and I had a landline phone and cellular phones. Today, most people have a cellular phone as their primary home phone and everyday it seems new features are added and prices are dropping.
I will see all the phone plans again in a few months and I'm sure the prices will change again as technology gets better. But without your help prison telecom companies will continue to drain prisoners, their families and their friends.
Today, would you sign for a phone plan that consisted of 300 minutes for $69 per month? That's what federal prisoners pay to call home if their calls are outside of the local prisons calling area. This is 23 cents per minute, when even a prepaid cellular phone is $40 a month for unlimited calls to within the United States.
This is just the tip of the issue.
Telecom companies for years have lobbied the FCC drowning out the voices of reason and ideas of financial compassion. Why should the captive audience of prisoners have to pay more to talk to their family than anyone else in the country?
When a prisoners outside communication is hindered, families cannot take part in the rehabilitative process, or help a prisoner to maintain an outside-the-walls view of life. In prison, a financial barrier is the same as a brick wall of impossibility.
I thank Paul Wright at Prison Legal News (here) for writing about the petition and for all the other organizations of a criminal justice focus who are pushing this issue.
Taking advantage of prisoners and their families is a poor moral choice, substantively wrong but remains in effect because people stand by and do nothing.
Support the petition to stop the abuse, and write a powerful letter to:
Chairman Julius Genachowski
Federal Communication Commission
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554