Wright-Reed Act Would Reduce Exorbitant Prison Phone Rates

Legislation would relieve some of the financial anguish that relatives and loved ones of incarcerated people experience.

Contact: Rafael Medina, [email protected], 202.869.0390

WASHINGTON – Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement on the introduction of S. 1764, the Martha Wright-Reed Just and Reasonable Communications Act of 2019, which would empower the Federal Communications Commission to reduce excessive intrastate rates for telephone calls from prisons:

“The current prison phone system allows corporations to rack up profits at the expense of some of the most vulnerable members of our society. Unreasonable rates force families to make unfair choices about sustenance and shelter in order to stay in communication with their loved ones, jeopardizing the safety and security of communities throughout the entire United States. This strains the relationships that are essential to ensuring successful rehabilitation. Families and loved ones who wish to communicate with incarcerated people should not have to sacrifice necessities like food, rent, and health care, just to stay in touch.

“The Martha Wright-Reed Act would empower the Federal Communications Commission to eliminate this predatory practice once and for all. The Senate must commit to passing this commonsense legislation that would reduce recidivism by allowing incarcerated people to maintain relationships outside of prison. We foster tighter communities when we protect the ability of families to communicate with their loved ones.”

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.