FCC Defends Prison Call Shift

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Although Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai believes there’s market failure in the prison phone call industry, the FCC’s “well-intentioned efforts have not been fully consistent with the law,” the agency’s acting general counsel told lawmakers in a letter Feb 21.

Citing the reality that the commission’s current Republican leadership disagreed with parts of the FCC’s 2015 reforms, agency attorneys abandoned defense of rate regulation of in-state phone calls in a lawsuit brought by major prison phone providers. Acting general counsel Brendan Carr pointed out that the FCC still moved forward with oral arguments, and defended the agency’s authority to cap interstate rates and efforts to curb fees. “If the court ultimately agrees with the positions the FCC defended at oral argument, the result could go a long way in helping to reduce the rates and fees associated with inmate calling services,” Carr wrote in response to a letter from Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) and other Democrats.

FCC Defends Prison Call Shift FCC defends not fighting legal challenge to prison call rates (The Hill)