FCC slashes call rates to people in prison

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has capped rates for local and in-state long-distance inmate calling, and cut its existing cap on interstate long-distance calls by up to 50 percent for people in jail or prison in the U.S.

FCC noted that the cost of call sometimes balloon to $14 per minute once inside prison walls. This apart, FCC barred most add-on fees imposed by inmate calling service (ICS) providers, and set strict limits on the few fees that remain. Extra fees and charges can increase the cost of families staying in touch by phone with loved ones who are
incarcerated by as much as 40 percent.

New caps reduce the average rates from $2.96 to no more than $1.65 for a 15-minute intrastate call for most calls, and from $3.15 to no more than $1.65 for most 15-minute interstate calls.

In October 2014, FCC sought comment on the data and proposed to reform all inmate calling rates and fees. The order adopted by the Commission today acts on that data by lowering the cap to 11 cents per minute for all local and long distance calls from state and federal prisons, while providing tiered rates for jails to account for the higher costs of serving jails and smaller institutions.

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