“This is a huge victory for justice for ordinary people at an agency that is usually more attuned to private interests,” says Cheryl A. Leanza, policy director at the United Church of Christ. “Increasing the connections between families and inmates helps all of us. Strong family connections improve the likelihood that when inmates are released, they will not become repeat offenders, and that makes our society safer. We are very grateful to Commissioner Clyburn.”
The article quoted Cheryl as she described the mechanism which led to such high rates:
Leanza, of the United Church of Christ, said these commissions amount to “legalized kickbacks” where the highest bidder wins, in contrast to traditional competitive bidding where the lowest bidder wins. “This is not the free market at work,” Leanza says.
Asked why it took more than a decade for prison call reform to occur, Leanza pointed out that phone companies are very powerful in Washington, D.C. “It was always very easy for the phone companies to push the issue down the road,” says Leanza. “Prisoners usually don’t have a strong voice on many issues.”