U.S. prisoners pay as much as $17 for a 15 minute call with their families in a jailhouse phone market dominated by two private equity-backed companies, and that cost now is drawing scrutiny from regulators.

Published in Inmate Telephone News

The Michigan Department of Corrections seeks to pay for costly and unneeded cell phone detection equipment by nearly doubling the rates for prison phone calls. It's a bad call. Excessive phone fees not only unfairly burden low-income families, but also impair the re-entry and rehabilitation efforts trumpeted by the department.

Legislators did the right thing by inserting language in a supplemental appropriations bill, now before the governor, that would keep prison phone fees comparable to residential rates. The governor should preserve that language, and Corrections should drop efforts to pay for special equipment by overcharging prisoners and their families.

Published in Inmate Telephone News