In this powerful new op-ed, Ulandis Forte—grandson of Mrs. Martha Wright-Reed, the namesake of the prison phone justice legislation our coalition is currently championing—explains how his grandmother’s fight to stay connected with him inspired a lifelong commitment to winning communication rights for people in prison and their families:
Imagine having to choose between purchasing groceries or making a phone call to speak with your incarcerated loved one this week. That’s the dilemma facing thousands of families across the country bearing the burden of high-cost prison phone calls.
In states like Arkansas, according to the Prison Policy Initiative, it can still cost up to $24 for a 15-minute phone call with someone detained at a jail — a plight poignantly dramatized in Ava DuVernay’s new series about the Central Park jogger case, “When They See Us.” In the series, DuVernay shows us how varied levels of contact and access impacted the now-exonerated men at the heart of the case differently over the course of their years of imprisonment.
This continued injustice is why, for more than 20 years, my grandmother, Martha Wright-Reed, fought the prison phone industry for affordable phone rates. Now, I am working to keep up the fight.Ulandis Forte, Truthout