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News Link • Prisons & Incarceration in America

Prison phone companies fight for right to charge inmates $14 a minute

• arstechnica.com/tech-policy

The Federal Communications Commission is about to face another lawsuit, this time over a vote to cap the prices prisoners pay for phone calls.

Yesterday's vote came after complaints that inmate-calling companies are overcharging prisoners, their families, and attorneys. Saying the price of calls sometimes hits $14 per minute, the FCC has now capped rates at 11¢ per minute.

FCC says it will put a stop to price gouging.

"None of us would consider ever paying $500 a month for a voice-only service where calls are dropped for seemingly no reason, where fees and commissions could be as high at 60 percent per call and, if we are not careful, where a four-minute call could cost us a whopping $54," FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said before yesterday's vote.

Those are the kinds of prices that the two major inmate calling companies, Global Tel*Link (GTL) and Securus Technologies, want to keep charging. Both vowed to take the FCC to court over the decision.

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