BOSTON (WWLP) – Family members of those incarcerated want to change the phone policies in Massachusetts prisons.
The Keep Families Connected Coalition wants to see 2 bills pass this session, so that family members can stay in touch with their loved ones behind bars.
The group is lobbying for the passage of Senate Bill 13-72 which would eliminate phone call fees at Massachusetts prisons.
Right now it costs inmates 36 cents per minute to call from inside a county jail. A 15 minute call could cost inmates up to $6.15.
Members of the coalition shared personal stories about being incarcerated or trying to connect with a loved one who was.
“I was sending money out to my wife to put on my books so that I could make phone calls home and $1,200 for 9 months to talk every other day to your family for 10 minutes is a little extreme,” said former inmate Richard Norris.
On average, Massachusetts families are spending $24 million to talk on the phone to their loved ones in prison.
Data shows that speaking to inmates on a regular basis can help to prevent them from offending.
The Keep Families Connected Coalition is working on another bill to eliminate some of visitation restrictions at the state’s correctional facilities.