Will you accept this call?

Margaret diZerega Managing Director of Initiatives
Dec 09, 2009

It was reassuring to read a recent New York Times editorial criticizing the New York State Court of Appeals’ decision against refunding family members for the high cost of collect calls from loved ones in prison. This ruling comes more than two years after the state legislature passed a bill requiring competitive phone rates in correctional facilities. The law reinforces what we already know—that such calls are an essential way for families to stay in touch. This contact ultimately helps their loved ones succeed when they come home from prison.

As Vera’s 2006 report “Confronting Confinement” describes, collect calls from prison facilities bring in millions of dollars in revenue. But when a 15-minute call costs more than $17, people are less likely to pick up the phone. This punishes families and discourages contact that benefits people who are incarcerated and those they love, including their children.

You can read more here about how our Family Justice Program helps government agencies apply practical tools and strategies that help people involved in the justice system draw on their social supports.