Federal regulators took new steps on Thursday to slash the cost of calls in prison, which can run as high as $14 a minute.
The latest action by the Federal Communications Commission—described as a "huge step forward" by one prison reform group—eliminates or limits fees commonly tacked on by the phone service providers. It also capped the maximum cost of a 15-minute in-state or local call at $1.65 and lowered the per-minute rate.
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The new rules affect inmates in federal and state prisons, including immigrant detention centers. They also apply to local jails, though rates are higher in smaller facilities.
"Calls that used to cost a dollar a minute now could be as low as 11 cents," said Aleks Kajstura, legal director at the Prison Policy Initiative, which has been pushing to make prison calls more affordable.