Below is the letter we’ll be sending to your representative:
Tell Congress: Co-Sponsor the Martha Wright Prison Phone Justice Act and Keep Families Connected!
Incarcerated people and their loved ones deserve to stay connected. Period.
While tens of millions of people reconnect with loved ones after spending so much time apart during the COVID-19 pandemic, incarcerated people around the country still can’t see family and friends because of prison restrictions on in-person visits.
That leaves phone and video calls as the easiest way families can stay in touch with incarcerated loved ones. But prison telecom corporations like Securus, owned by Aventiv Technologies, and ViaPath Technologies (formerly GTL) charge families as much as $1 a minute for a phone call. That kind of price gouging creates a huge financial burden during normal times, but the pandemic exacerbated the impact. Families who want to stay in touch but can’t make in-person visits have few other options.
Preying on vulnerable families through hiked-up telephone and video calls generates $1.4 billion a year for telecom companies, but they’re not alone. More than 4,000 corporations across industries that do business with prisons are raking in billions of dollars each year. That kind of profiteering hurts Black and low-income families the most.
This ruthlessness cannot continue. It’s unconscionable that one in three families go into debt just to talk with their loved ones behind bars. Most families in that situation already face financial hardships, and having to pay substantially for phone calls can make a bad situation even worse.
We can stop this. In April 2021, Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Illinois) sponsored the Martha Wright Prison Phone Justice Act, legislation that would give the Federal Communications Commission the power to stop telecom companies from taking advantage of incarcerated people and their families. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a version of the bill in 2020, but it never made it to the Senate floor. Now is the chance to make it happen.
Add your name: Demand your member of Congress co-sponsor the Martha Wright Prison Phone Justice Act.
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 alive by demanding that Congress pass the Martha Wright Prison Phone Justice Act now!
Tell your representative to support the Martha Wright Prison Phone Justice Act and co-sponsor the legislation. Your voice is crucial in the fight to keep families connected.
Here is the Petition:
As your constituent, I call on you to co-sponsor the Martha Wright Prison Phone Justice Act. This bill would empower the FCC to stop telecom corporations from charging outlandish rates for voice and video calls between incarcerated people and their loved ones. The COVID-19 pandemic took a financial toll on millions of families in already vulnerable communities. This bill will ease their burden, but they need your help.
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 Prison Phone Justice Act today.