Prison Phone Justice Campaign: Recent Developments
PLN’s December 2013 cover story provided an updated look at the prison phone industry and examined a recent order by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that imposed rate caps on interstate (long distance) prison and jail phone calls. There have since been several new developments on the prison phone front.
As previously reported, the nation’s two largest Inmate Calling Service (ICS) providers, Global Tel*Link and Securus Technologies, filed legal challenges to the FCC’s order in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
On January 13, 2014, the appellate court ruled on Securus’ motion for a stay of the FCC’s order, granting the motion in part and denying it in part. As a result, several key provisions of the order were placed on hold pending the outcome of Securus’ lawsuit.
The interim rate caps imposed by the FCC – $.25 per minute for collect interstate ICS calls and $.21 per minute for debit and prepaid interstate ICS calls – were not stayed and went into effect on February 11, 2014. As of that date, all correctional facilities nationwide were required to comply with the rate caps.
In addition to the rate caps for interstate prison phone calls, the D.C. Circuit also declined to stay a provision of the FCC’s order related to a prohibition on billing-related call blocking.