Sen Tammy Duckworth Joins 5 Other Senators To Introduce Bill to Address Predatory Phone Rates in Criminal Justice System

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Sens Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Rob Portman (R-OH), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Angus King (I-ME) introduced the Martha Wright-Reed Just and Reasonable Communications Act to strengthen the nation’s criminal justice system. This bipartisan bill would help families keep in touch with their incarcerated family members, and would address long-standing concerns about the prohibitively expensive and predatory price of phone calls that incarcerated individuals at correctional facilities across the US are forced to pay. The bipartisan legislation 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. The 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.

Duckworth, Others Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Address Predatory Phone Rates in Criminal Justice System