Sen Duckworth and Others Introduce Inmate Calling Technical Corrections Act

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[Press release] Sens Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Rob Portman (R-OH), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced the Inmate Calling Technical Corrections Act to strengthen the nation’s criminal justice system by helping families keep in touch with incarcerated family members, which studies have shown can help reduce recidivism rates and thereby save taxpayer dollars. This targeted legislation would address long-standing concerns regarding predatory inmate calling rates at prison facilities across the US and would affirm the Federal Communications Commission’s authority to address a market failure to protect family, clergy, and counsel who communicate with prisoners, inmates and detainees. This legislation also makes clear that the obligations of fairness in inmate communications apply to all individuals, including those living with a disability. 

Specifically, this legislation:

  • Ensures consumers receive just and reasonable charges for all intra- and interstate inmate calling, drawing on the existing standard in Section 202 of the Communications Act. 
  • Ensures just and reasonable rates apply regardless of technology used, like video visitation services and other advanced communications services. This also ensures that the needs of inmates with disabilities is addressed. 
  • Permits the FCC to use its traditional procedures and authority to address unjust and unreasonable inmate calling rates.

"Preserving contact with family members during incarceration can help make that a reality, but market failures unique to the prison telecommunications industry can make that more difficult. Fortunately, there is bipartisan agreement that the law should be clarified to enable the FCC to finally address those market failures. Our bipartisan legislation will help make sure that prison telecommunication rates are fair so family members can more easily afford to stay in touch with incarcerated loved ones, improving the odds that rehabilitated offenders will be able to become productive members of society upon their release,” said Sen Duckworth. 

Sen Duckworth and Others Introduce Inmate Calling Technical Corrections Act