He didn’t understand why they took his dad away from them. “It’s all my fault…I must be a bad son”. After a long time, he received a phone call and heard his dad’s voice again. Grandma kept saying “you can’t talk too long”. There weren’t that many calls after that one. Then there were no calls at all.
He didn’t know that his dad was paid only $0.25/hour, making it difficult to pay for $20 for a 15 minute phone call. He didn’t know that Grandma had to decide between keeping in contact with his dad and paying bills and keeping the family fed. All he knew was his dad was gone and he didn’t know if he’d see or hear from him again.
Children and families are penalized by predatory high cost of prison phone calls, which unnecessarily damages the bond between the child and their incarcerated parent. The first insult to the child-parent relationship is the moment their mom or dad is taken away from them. The next injury is when the care-taker of the child needs to make the decision of paying for phone costs or necessary bills such as food and shelter. The last injury is when the life line is cut off. It’s as if the parent has died. No longer does the child hear from the incarcerated parent.
Media Literacy Project (MLP) is part of the Campaign for Prison Phone Justice because we believe that communication is a human right, just like access to water and land. In 2001, New Mexico Senate Bill 102 was made into law. It guarantees the lowest cost of phone calls to prisoners and their families and does not allow kick-backs to the state or correctional facility. MLP is excited to expand its campaign involvement to include the communication issues of immigrant detainees.