Prison is punishment enough, most would agree. The reality is, while a family member is locked up, there is still the need to address family issues, and an hour a week to speak to loved ones is not an obscenely generous amount of time. A single hour to participate in the lives of spouses, kids and extended family is fair. It would seem reasonable for the FCC to set limits to protect the innocent from paying fees without justification.A bipartisan group of prison reformers is calling on the Federal Communications Commission to stop phone companies from charging inmates what they call unreasonable and predatory rates to make phone calls.Why such astronomical fees? Phone companies often pay commissions to the state after they've won an exclusive contract to provide phone service at a state's prisons. (All but eight states allow these exclusive contracts.) The phone companies then pass on the cost of paying the state to inmates and their families, who have to shell out as much as $17 for a 15-minute call, the group says. That can add up to $250 a month to call home for an hour each week—a cost that the often-poor families of inmates can hardly afford.
In the great scheme of things, this is much more important than a nip slip or an F-bomb on television.