FCC Votes to Decrease Inmate Phone Call Costs

Oct 22, 2015

Credit KBIA file photo

  The Federal Communications Commission agreed to decrease how much money companies can charge for phone calls made from jails and prisons.

The agency voted Thursday to cap rates on all local, in-state long distance, interstate and international calls. The changes go further than restrictions adopted two years ago that limited rates on inmate calls from one state to another.

The changes will take effect in prisons early next year and in jails by mid-2016.

Under the changes, most inmate calls will cost no more than $1.65 for 15 minutes. Fees and other costs that increased calls' cost also will be limited.

Inmates' families and attorneys fought for the changes.

Phone companies argued that the calls require costly security features. Prison and jail operators benefited from profit-sharing commissions.