Prison phone operators are not letting up on exploiting prison inmates with high call rates. And prison authorities under the Trump administration are aiding them in this vice. This has left prison inmates and their families to bear the exorbitant costs of communicating via phone calls.
This problem is so exacerbated because prison authorities take a share of call revenues from prison phone companies.
To underscore the greed of several US states, they award prison phone call contracts to companies with the highest commission rewards.
And to fund the high commissions paid out to states, private prison call companies hike call rates to prisoners for as high as $1 per call minute. Then the financial buck is passed to inmates’ families who are already grieving for the incarceration of their loved ones.
Trump Administration Cancelled FCC’s Caps on Prison Call Rates
The Federal Communications Communication (FCC) under the previous Obama administration capped prison phone call rates. The capped rate was no higher than about $0.25 per higher for both in-state and out-of-state prison calls.
This would have greatly made paying for prison calls far easier for families of incarcerated persons. But the Trump administration reversed all the FCC had put in place and freed the market for private operators to rip off consumers.
The Trump administration is committed to a free market system for all private operators. This has made prison phone call companies sharks while families of inmates remain the preys to be fed to sharks.
It is true that under a free market system, consumers have the liberty to choose who they patronize, but this can never be true with prison inmates. Inmates do not have the liberty to choose the prison phone company they use to communicate with their families – definitely not where state prisons’ interests are concerned.
Families of Inmates Cannot Fare Any Better with Video Calls in Regards to Costs
If prisoners’ families had been complaining over the expensive rates of prison calls, they even have greater reasons to complain now. This is largely because in-person visits to many prisons and county jails are getting cancelled, and replaced with video calls.
Video calls are costlier than phone calls because these utilize video chat terminals. Where personal visits are cancelled to prisons, relatives have no choice than to pay much higher costs to communicate with inmates.