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$4/minute for a phone call = $13.4 million in "kickbacks"
Illinois House Bill 6200, The Family Connections Bill, introduced by State Representative Carol Ammons (D-Urbana) eliminates the commissions collected from phone calls in Illinois prisons; this is a tax on poor families.
Securus Technologies, which has an exclusive contract with the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) to provide phone services, won the agreement by offering the state a large portion of the proceeds. These commissions, or “kickbacks,” are 76% of the revenue from phone service, the highest of any state in the country. In 2013, $13.4 million was collected in commissions.
Currently, a single call from the IDOC costs about four dollars, with additional fees. HB 6200 sets a rate cap of 5 cents a minute for phone calls. Several states already have rates at 5 cents or lower, including New York, New Jersey, and Virginia.
The FCC has recently stepped in to stop what it calls the “egregious” exploitation of those incarcerated by the prison phone industry. HB 6200 will bring the state of Illinois in line with the FCC’s mandated regulations.
Please sign this petition to stop the high cost of prison phone calls. We will deliver the petition at a press conference on April 5, 2016 at 10 a.m. in Springfield. Let legislators in Illinois know you want #phone justice now!
Communication is essential for individuals and their families to endure a period of incarceration. It is also critical to helping people lay the groundwork for transitioning to the community upon their release, thereby contributing to lower rates of recidivism.
Illinois Campaign for Prison Phone Justice, a project of the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center, is a member of the Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net).
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