Below is the letter we’ll be sending to your representative:
Tell Congress: Pass the Martha Wright-Reed Act and Keep Families Connected!
Incarcerated people and their loved ones deserve to stay connected. Period.
While tens of millions are getting vaccinated and re-connecting with loved ones after spending so much time apart, incarcerated people around the country are still unable to see family and friends because of in-person visitation restrictions.
Another common way for families to regularly stay in touch with their incarcerated loved ones is via phone and video calls, but prison telecom corporations like Securus and GTL charge families as much as $16 for a 15-minute phone call. This creates a huge financial burden on families, during normal times, but the impact has been exacerbated because of the pandemic, making it even tougher for them to stay connected.
Preying on families via hiked up telephone and video calls is a $1.4 billion industry, but this type of exploitation of incarcerated people and their loved ones is not isolated to just the telecom sector. Over 4,000 corporations across industries are raking in billions of dollars each year and their prison-profiteering tactics target and hurt Black and low-income families the most.
These types of ruthless practices cannot continue. One in three families have to go into debt just to talk with their loved ones and that is unconscionable. The financial impact on the families of incarcerated individuals is already too steep without having to deal with price gouging from telecommunications companies. A majority of these families with an incarcerated family member already face financial hardships and having to pay substantially for phone calls makes their situation untenable.
We can stop this. In May 2021, a group of 13 Democratic and Republican Senators co-sponsored the Martha Wright-Reed Just and Reasonable Communications Act. The act would give the FCC the authority to fight back against predatory practices from prison telecom companies, allowing incarcerated people to connect with their families without causing financial instability. A previous version of this bill passed in the House of Representatives in 2020, yet never made it to the Senate floor. Now is the chance to make it happen — and now more than ever, families and loved ones need to stay connected.
Add your name: Demand Congress pass the Martha Wright-Reed Act and keep families connected!
Mrs. Martha Wright-Reed was a champion for phone justice and fought for decades to make prison phone calls affordable for incarcerated people. Let's keep her hope and vision alive by demanding that Congress pass the Martha Wright-Reed Just and Reasonable Communications Act now!
Tell your Senator to do their part to support the Martha Wright-Reed Just and Reasonable Communications Act. Your voice is crucial in the fight to keep families connected.
Here is the Petition:
Dear Senator and Representative,
As your constituent, I am calling on you to pass the Martha Wright-Reed Just and Reasonable Communications Act. This bill would restore the FCC’s authority to stop prison phone corporations from charging incarcerated people and their families outlandish rates for voice and video calls. Millions of families are still hurting financially because of the pandemic and you can lessen the financial burden that's already crushing vulnerable communities.
Connecting families helps people thrive, and incarcerated individuals should be able to speak with their loved ones without causing financial hardships. Co-sponsor the Martha Wright-Reed Just and Reasonable Communications Act today.