FCC Votes To Give Disabled Incarcerated People Access to Specialized Communications Services

The agency moves to help incarcerated people with disabilities stay connected with their families.

Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted to approve a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to improve access to communications for incarcerated people with disabilities and to reduce the financial burdens created by certain calling service charges and practices.

The following can be attributed to Greg Guice, Director of Government Affairs at Public Knowledge:

“Incarcerated people with a hearing and speech disability will benefit greatly from the action the FCC takes today because this will give them access to the specialized communications services they need to connect. In addition, the FCC’s prohibition on inmate calling service providers making a profit center out of the unused funds left on calling cards and debit accounts that inmates and their families paid for, is a common-sense reform to help protect a vulnerable base of consumers. 

“We are pleased the FCC is seeking additional information and putting these companies on notice that the days of serving up bonuses, commissions, and other monies they have inappropriately extracted from the incarcerated and their families to incarceration facilities and their shareholders are numbered. Hopefully, once there is a full FCC, these questions can be answered and a more just system for staying connected will be available to all incarcerated people.”

Members of the media may contact Communications Director Shiva Stella with inquiries, interview requests, or to join the Public Knowledge press list at shiva@publicknowledge.org or 405-249-9435.