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Friday, September 9, 2011

Support Campaign to Lower Michigan Prisoner Phone Call Rates

by Efrén Paredes, Jr.

In June 2011, the new contract for Michigan prisoner phone service began. The phone call rates nearly doubled, prisoners are now making fewer phone calls to members of the public, and they are being further isolated from society.

Consequently prisoners will have less contact with family and friends, who are a vital part of their survival and, in many cases, maintaining their sanity and sense of self-worth during their incarceration. The life line that the majority of prisoners cling to is slowly drifting away as they painfully witness the erosion of ties with family and friends.

The phone rate increases were unnecessary and avoidable. The Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC), however, awarded the prisoner phone contract to PCS, a phone company that charges higher rates than other companies for the identical security features they are providing to MDOC to monitor and control prisoner phone use.

To support the campaign to lower Michigan prisoner phone rates, you are encouraged to visit the link at the end of this post and sign the petition.

When you sign the petition, an e-mail opposing the rate increases will be sent on your behalf to Governor Rick Snyder, MDOC Director Dan Heyns, the Chairs of the Corrections Appropriations Committee, and your State Senator and Representative. The petition automatically identifies your state legislators based on your zip code.

If we do not lend our voices to this important campaign, the MDOC could earn $8 million and PCS could earn $3 million from the thousands of prisoners and members of the public being affected over the next four years.

Please share the petition link with others in e-mails, blog posts, and by posting it on Facebook and Twitter. The wider the circulation, the greater the impact. Support for this campaign is growing exponentially and dozens of those who have signed the petition have already received responses from their legislators.

Petition link: