Up until now, inmates serving time for their crimes behind bars would also be charged high rates for phone calls to loved ones outside of prison walls. The cost would be as high as $14 a minute. Amid growing pushback against the expensive costs, the Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to cap the costs.
"Reducing the cost of these calls measurably increases the amount of contact between inmates and their loved ones, making an important contribution to the criminal justice reforms sweeping the nation," the FCC announcement read Thursday.
The new regulations will affect calls made locally, in-state and out-of-state. For example, the average rate of 15 minute in-state phone calls will drop from $2.96 to no more than $1.65. For interstate calls, the calling costs will drop from $3.15 every 15 minutes to $1.65 for most calls.
The FCC has also banned flat-rate calling charges, which slaps a caller with the same fee no matter how long the duration of the phone call. Since 2013, the FCC has been working to pass the new reform as issue was brought to the government's attention by family members and attorneys of inmates.
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