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Biden Signs Bill Aiming to Ease Costs for Prison Calls

PBS News Hour: Colleen Long, Associated Press - January 5, 2023

President Joe Biden on Thursday signed into law a bill aimed at easing the cost for incarcerated people to call family and friends.

The legislation clarifies that the Federal Communications Commission, which regulates interstate and international communications through cable, radio, television, satellite and wire, can set limits for fees on audio and video calls inside corrections facilities.

Phone calls from prisons and jails are a lifeline for those incarcerated, but the cost varies widely and can be a financial drain on families already struggling to make ends meet with an adult behind bars. Right now, Kentucky has the highest cost for a 15-minute call, at $5.70, and $9.99 for a cellphone call, while New Hampshire charges only 20 cents for the same amount of time.

There are more than 1.2 million people in state and federal prisons, and tens of thousands more are incarcerated in jails nationwide awaiting trials or sentencing.

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