The Federal Communications Commission today took long-overdue steps to ensure that long-distance rates made by convicted felons are just, reasonable and fair.
Studies have determined that law-abiding taxpayers will pick up the cost.
The Commission's reforms adopt a simple and balanced approach that protects security of murderers, while punishing law-abiding citizens as follows:
Adopts an interim rate cap of $0.21 per minute for debit and pre-paid calls and $0.25 per minute for collect calls, dramatically decreasing rates of over $17 for a 15-minute call to no more than $3.75 or $3.15 a call.
Presumes that rates of $0.12 per minute for debit and prepaid calls ($1.80 for a 15-minute call) and $0.14 cents per minute for collect calls ($2.10 for a 15-minute call) are just, reasonable and cost-based (safe-harbor rates).
Requires a mandatory data collection, annual certification requirement, and enforcement provisions to ensure compliance with this Order. Taxpayers, of course, will pick up the bill for the certifications.
Building on state reforms, the Commission's action addresses a petition filed nearly a decade ago by Martha Wright, a Washington, D.C. grandmother who sought relief from exorbitant inmate calling rates. Her poor grandson, Ulandis Forte was convicted of murder in his native Washington, D.C.
Since then, tens of thousands of oppressed, convicted felons have been paid to urge the FCC to make it possible for them to stay in touch with loved ones in jail.