Did you know that a phone call from prison to home costs families 24 times more than a normal call – upwards of $18 for a short 15 minute conversation? Did you know that around 60 percent (or $152 million) of that money goes towards a “commission” for corporations and prison agencies?
Over 2.7 million kids have one or both parents in prison; a phone call with the incarcerated parent can provide comfort and normalcy for that child. For a parent in prison, research shows that these calls and maintaining strong family ties leads to a greater chance for success post-release. So why is it that instead of promoting healthy families, working towards curbing recidivism, and cutting short and long-term state and federal costs, the government is working with corporations to pad their pockets?
We say that’s not right!
That’s why in June 2011 during MAG-Net’s annual Anchors meeting, the Leadership Team voted to launch a national organizing and advocacy effort to protect the communication and human rights of incarcerated people and their families. Thousand Kites and Prison Legal News– two active MAG-Net members- along with assistance from The Center for Media Justice, are leading the Prison Phone Justice campaign to end the high costs of prison phone calls. In 2012, we’re committed to ramping up our campaign on the state and national level. The Prison Phone Justice campaign is working hard helping families fight back against the exclusive, expensive- not to mention illegal- contracts that create disproportionately high costs for the families that receive calls from those in prison. The eight million men, women, and teens housed in prisons/jails and in juvenile and immigration detention centers should be able to connect to the outside world and their children, spouses, parents, and other loved ones. Instead of exploiting vulnerable families that are often struggling to make ends meet, we want our government to help build a better future for our children, and for those seeking a second chance once they’re released from prison.
In January 2012, the Campaign will be releasing our multi-media Prison Phone Justice toolkit that will feature fact sheets, organizing tools, resources to get into the media, media production tips, downloadable audio, discussion guides and much more. Stay tuned for the release.
Go the Thousands Kites’ Prison Phone Justice website in order to find out more and join the Prison Phone Justice campaign.