Bills would pull the plug on sky-high jail phone costs

November 17th, 2019

Daily Hampshire Gazette
November 17, 2019
Michael Connors

NORTHAMPTON — For some families whose loved ones are incarcerated, a 15-minute in-state phone call can cost up to $7.50.

That’s the going rate at the Franklin County House of Correction. In Hampshire County, the cost is cheaper at $3.15 per 15-minute call, according to a list of rates at prisons and jails across the state compiled by Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts and the Prison Policy Initiative, but advocates have long denounced the burden of telephone costs on inmates and their families.

On Beacon Hill, lawmakers have introduced two bills that would address these high costs.

“For many incarcerated people, the phone is a lifeline,” said Bonnie Tenneriello, an attorney with Prisoners’ Legal Services. “And the phone is especially a lifeline for their loved ones. The burden on prison families for phone use is tremendous.”

Read more…