By Mel Motel, Prison Legal News/Human Rights Defense Center
On August 14, a delegation of organizations from Charleston met with Senator Jay Rockefeller’s staff to discuss the high cost of receiving a phone call from a prison, jail or detention center. This visit was held as part of a larger effort called the Campaign for Prison Phone Justice, a national campaign seeking to lower the cost of prison phone calls. Organizations in the delegation included Advocare, Citizens United for Rehabilitation (CURE), West Virginia Record, and Senior Legal Aid.
The delegation petitioned Senator Rockefeller to send a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski in support of the Wright Petition (Docket No. 96-128), a measure that would make the cost of long distance phone calls from prisons more affordable.
During the meeting, members of the delegation shared stories of the repercussions of high prison phone calls. Keith DeBlasio, Executive Director of Advocare, shared how his mother paid 15 – 30 dollars for a 15-minute phone call with him and the costs were so high, she had to sleep in her van when coming to visit him. Steven Renderos of Media Action Grassroots Network noted the need for Senator Rockefeller and other legislators to urge the FCC to end predatory phone rates.