By SUZANNE GAMBOA, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Congressional Black Caucus is pressing the Federal Communications Commission to cut the costs that prison inmates and their families pay for phone calls.
Caucus members said Wednesday the rates can be as high as $4 per call, plus another 55-cents-per-minute for long distance calls. They said such high rates disproportionately impact African Americans and Hispanics who make up more than 60 percent of the incarcerated.
Petitions on the issue filed by the grandmother of a former inmate have been pending at the FCC for a decade.
The FCC has finished collecting public comment on phone services provided to inmates, and whether the charges are just and reasonable. It will use the comments to draft new regulations that eventually go to the commission for a vote.