A highlight from The True Cost of Prison Phone Calls

The Experiment
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Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Connecticut's legislature considered a bill an air considering the cost of telecommunication services in correctional facilities favorite. It sounds very wonky but the bill is really simple. Thing it's about phone calls in prison would make calls by incarcerated people free of charge you good morning. I am here today in support of the and when they held public hearings on the bill i must was seventeen years old. He caught a case that landed him an adult prison for the first time. Much of the testimony came from families. It's no secret. I have a loved one who's incarcerated. Let me just give you the numbers. What i pay twelve hundred dollars a year that i am paying to talk to my brother. In connecticut inmates charged up to five dollars for a fifteen minute call. That's one of the highest rates the country nationally. The prison foam business is a one point. Four billion dollar industry and there's thousands of people like myself low income families to keep making sacrifices that they can't afford. I work every day. And after all the testimony and the clerk atelli voted. The bills amended his passenger concurrence with the senate. Can they pass the bill. This bill is the first of its kind. I mean there is no other state in the united states of america where people can make phone calls from state. Prisons without being charged without their families being charged. I heard about this bill from atlantic writer. Clint smith i've been working in prisons and jails as a teacher for the past several years and this is something that i know is a big deal to people on the inside am embarrassed to say i didn't even know it. Costs prisoners money to make these phone calls. Yeah i mean. I think that i would know honestly unless i had been working in prisons for the past few years. I think i imagine that like oh you can visit person in prison whenever you want. When that couldn't be further from the case many thousands of incarcerated people are held in places that are nowhere near their home and so if folks want physically visit their loved ones. i mean. it's a whole you have to get on a train or a plane or a bus and you talk about being cost prohibitive. You know a phone call too cost prohibitive for so many of these people much less buying a plane ticket. Yes so how did you learn the reality of what these relationships look like. Yeah so so. Good friend of mine actually ford homey. How are you. i'm better now. That a see your face. It's so she's an incredible writer and thinker and she's the person who really opened my eyes to what the day to day of being accused of an incarcerated parent is like she wrote this really compelling book called somebody's daughter that documents her relationship with her dad. How old were you when your dad was incarcerated. I was born in january of nineteen eighty seven and my father was charged in july of nineteen eighty-seven so i would have been about six months old. Her father was incarcerated for the vast majority of her life. Her father didn't avenue money So he couldn't afford to make the calls he would sometimes call collect but my mom had asked him to stop doing that. Because we couldn't afford those calls you know it's really hard to figure out how to make that work so you are trying to figure out what it means to love someone who is in prison and you're doing that without having any real idea

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