Thursday, 21 April 2011 05:07

Prison Phone Kickbacks: Part 2

Regulation by State Agencies

Some actions before state regulatory agencies have had greater success. The Utilities Consumer Action Network filed a complaint against MCI with the California Public Utilities Commission over irregularities in the company’s billing practices and quality of service for calls originating from California prisons. In a 2001 settlement, MCI agreed to refund more than $520,000 in illegal overcharges to families of California prisoners. [See: PLN, Nov. 2001, p.19].

This followed a pattern of state regulatory actions and settlements dating from the early 1990s that saw a number of telecommunications companies fined and ordered to pay refunds due to illegal prison phone call billings.

In Louisiana, the state Public Service Commission ordered GTL to refund $1.2 million in overcharges from June 1993 to May 1994. In 1996, North American Intelecom agreed to refund $400,000 overcharged to members of the public who accepted prisoners’ phone calls, following an investigation by the Florida Public Service Commission. The following year the Commission ordered MCI to refund almost $2 million in overcharges on collect calls made from Florida state prisons. [See: PLN, Aug. 1998, p.8; March 1997, p.12; Sept. 1996, p.13].

Published in Inmate Telephone News

By LAUREN SAUSSER (AP) 

CUMBERLAND, MARYLAND — They were unlikely dance partners in an unlikely dance hall: a 29-year-old murderer and a 10-year-old boy doing an impromptu tango as Luther Vandross' "Dance with My Father" sounded from a boom box in a prison gym.

It was one of the lighter moments at the emotional end of a weeklong summer camp where inmate dads and their children reconnected after years apart. Seven fathers — all in prison-issued jeans and blue, short-sleeved shirts — swayed to the song with their children, some openly crying.

Published in Family Support
Wednesday, 13 October 2010 16:50

Study finds children of inmates at higher risk

10/12/10
KEN MILLER, Associated Press Writer

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma children whose mothers are in prison are five times more likely to end up in prison themselves, according to a report released Tuesday by a child advocacy group.

The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy's annual Kids Count Factbook said those children then often have children of their own who end up in the same situation, perpetuating the cycle.

"We know any adverse childhood experience, any sort of trauma or loss a child experiences affects them in their development," said Linda Terrell, the group's executive director.

Published in Family Support

By Alan Scher Zagier, Associated Press Writer

Women Inmates sharing time with their children during visit.

Patty Prewitt, second from left, and Kris Scheller, right, work on a craft project with Prewitt's daughter, Carrie Melton, left, and graddaughter Megan Lewis, 5, Saturday, Aug. 23, 2008, at the Women's Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Vandalia, Mo. Prewitt and Scheller are a part of the Missouri 4-H LIFE program, which tries to create a healthy environment for offenders and members of their family.

 VANDALIA, MISSOURI — The crayons, construction paper and toddlers scattered on the floor suggest a typical daycare center or kindergarten classroom. The armed guards and surveillance cameras reveal a painful reality.

Published in Family Support

Aug. 9, 2010

by David Tenenbaum

Wisconsin - It comes as no surprise that many children suffer when a parent is behind bars. But as rates of incarceration grew over the past 30 years, researchers were slow to focus on the collateral damage to children.

The best estimate says that at any one time, 1.7 million (about 2.3 percent) of all American children have a parent in prison, says Julie Poehlmann, a professor in the School of Human Ecology and investigator at the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Published in Family Support