Thursday hearing will tackle Massachusetts bill that would provide free phone calls from prisons and jails
The Berkshire Eagle
October 21, 2021
By Danny Jin
Working for $5 per week while behind bars, Jasmin Borges could afford just one 20-minute phone call with her daughters each week.
“When I came home 12 years later, nothing could prepare me for the cold, dark truth that I didn’t know my daughters,” Borges said at an Oct. 4 legislative hearing. “I had to learn my daughters. I had to learn their personalities, their likes and dislikes.”
Borges, now an organizer for the Massachusetts Bail Fund, was one of more than 25 speakers at the hearing who advocated for a bill that would make phone calls free for people incarcerated in Massachusetts. A similar bill was on the slate for a Thursday hearing by the Legislature’s committee on public safety and homeland security. The new hearing begins at 10 a.m. and can be accessed at malegislature.gov/Events/Hearings/Detail/3990.
“If the state and counties believe in rehabilitation, they must pay for the treatment and programs in prison, not extract that money from prison families who cannot afford it and have to ration their calls because [costs are] so inflated,” Bonnie Tenneriello, a staff attorney for Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts, said at the Oct. 4 hearing.