FCC Chairs Urges Governors To Take Action On High Inmate Phone Call Costs

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission says governors around the country should take action to ensure incarcerated individual maintain community connections by addressing the rates and fees that are charged for inmates to make intrastate phone calls. The request was made in a letter to the National Governors Association. The FCC does not have jurisdiction over intrastate phone rates. The letter also listed every prison or jail in the country that charged intrastate rates that were above the interstate caps according to FCC information.

The FCC Interstate pre-paid cap is $3.15 for a 15-minute call. Some of the rates exceeded $20 for a 15-minute call. The area facilities that were over the $3.15 15-minute call rate included the Andrew County Sheriff’s Office/Jail in Savannah at $7.50. Adair County in Kirksville and the Nodaway County Sheriff’s Office also had 15-minute call costs of $7.50. Buchanan County in St Joseph had a 15-minute call cost of $3.75.

In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking adopted last month, the Commission proposed lowering current interstate rate caps by up to 44% from existing interstate rate caps in prisons and jails. In addition, the Commission proposed to cap rates for international inmate calling services for the first time. The Commission also ensured that ancillary service charges are limited to just and reasonable levels when made in connection with interstate inmate calling services.