Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Cost of A Call -- Prison Families Pay the Price

Prisoners, however, cannot receive phone calls and in many states cannot choose which phone service to use. They must make a collect call using the service contracted for by the prison. If a prisoner tries to talk to family members once a week in Pennsylvania for just 15 minutes to stay in touch with his children or so that a sick parent knows her incarcerated daughter still cares, their families will be paying over $834 a year to stay in touch.

That's $834 for about 12 hours of talk time a year. Why should twelve hours of conversation a year from prison cost $350 more than unlimited calling for the rest of us?

I know of no social science of any mainstream political persuasion which would dictate that it makes sense to deny prisoners access to their families. Quite the opposite.

Having prisoners, the large majority of whom will return to society, maintain a connection with their families is in most cases the best thing for them. Even the Federal Bureau of Prisons appears to agree. In its 2004 Legal Resource Guide the agency says: "Telephone privileges are a supplemental means of maintaining community and family ties that contributes to an inmate's personal development."

Similarly, it makes no sense to drive the primarily poor families of prisoners further into poverty. The stronger these families are, the more likely they are to be a source of strength and support for prisoners during their time in prison and when they get out. Real Cost Of Prisons

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have a husband in a Colorado prison. We have found away to make the calls much cheaper. They can buy phone time and call on their debit cards. He is in southern Colorado and I am in the Denver metro area. The calls used to cost us $5.50 for a 20 minute call. Then I found out if I got a cell phone with a number for the town he is in the call now only costs us $1.25 per 20 minute call. It can't just be the same area code it has to be in the town where the prison is located. The only other cost would be getting the cell phone but you can go with the cheapest plan and still figure you are saving a great deal of money on this plan.