FCC Comment Period Extended to December 20!
But there is still work to be done and you can help!
Along with its order, the FCC released a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) to address additional issues related to prison phone services, including:
* The need for reform of intrastate (in-state) prison phone rates
* The legal authority of the FCC to regulate intrastate prison phone rates
* Issues related to calling services for prisoners who are deaf or hard of hearing
* Further prison phone rate reforms, including rate structures and determining rate costs
* International prison phone calls (particularly important for immigrant detainees)
* Ancillary charges related to prison phone calls
* Call blocking by prison phone service providers
* Exclusive prison phone contracts (e.g., monopoly contracts)
* Quality of service for prison phone calls (dropped calls, call quality, etc.)
These issues are described in the FNPRM at the following link, starting at paragraph 128 (page 67 of the .pdf file):
The period to submit public comments to the FCC related to the above issues has been extended to DECEMBER 20, 2013. Reply comments are due by January 13, 2014.
If you would like to submit a comment on the FCC’s docket, please review the above issues in the FNPRM, then submit your comments online at the following link (enter “12-375” in the box for Proceeding Number):
Of particular importance is the FCC’s interest in extending to intrastate (in-state) prison phone rates its reforms related to interstate (long distance) rates. Around 85% of prison phone calls are intrastate – therefore, reform of intrastate phone rates would have an enormous impact on the high costs of prison phone calls that prisoners’ families must pay to stay in touch with their incarcerated loved ones.
For true reform of the prison phone industry the FCC needs to regulate in-state rates
including an order for rate caps and safe harbor rates, as it has already done for interstate prison phone calls. Otherwise, the worst abuses of prison phone companies – high rates, extra charges for prison phone accounts, commission kickbacks, etc. – will simply continue for in-state calls despite the FCC’s reforms related to interstate calls.
The Human Rights Defense Center, which co-coordinates the Campaign for Prison Phone Justice, recently released an updated report on the prison phone industry that includes 2012-2013 state-by-state data on rates for local, intrastate and interstate calls, as well as updated commission percentages and amounts nationwide. The report is available at the following link and will be helpful if you want to submit comments to the FCC concerning the issues addressed in the FNPRM:
Please act now! The deadline to submit comments for the FNPRM is December 20, 2013!
Thank you for your help and advocacy on behalf of the Campaign for Prison Phone Justice!
– Campaign for Prison Phone Justice
Deaf Systems Advocate
Regional Center for Independent Living (RCIL)