"There is one number that simply haunts me—perhaps because I am a parent. Across the country, 2.7 million children have at least one parent in prison. That is 2.7 million children who do not know what it means to talk regularly with their mother or father."
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Tonite the Campaign for Prison Phone Justice received the Digital Media Pioneer for Social Justice Award at the Minority Media and Telecommunication Council’s (MMTC) annual Broadband and Social Justice Summit in Washington D.C.
Yesterday, the Board of Directors of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) adopted a resolution asking the FCC to address the high costs of prison phone calls at their annual meeting in Baltimore.
As Latinos we understand the importance of family, it’s far more than just a shared bloodline—it’s a social and communal anchor that helps to define our aspirations, as well as our experiences and needs. When open communication is threatened—or worse yet, commoditized—we all pay the price.
The meeting featured what can only be called a “historic” conversation. Gathered on the 8th floor--Mrs. Martha Wright, her grandson Mr. Ulandis Forte and Mr. Jackie Lucas--three named plaintiffs from Martha Wright vs. Corrections Corporation of America--shared their personal stories related to the Wright Petition (Docket 96-128) with the FCC.
“We’ve been working on this issue for years,” said Kay Perry of CURE. “We’ve been at this since before the Martha Wright petition…. On behalf of the thousands of people that CURE represents, we need action now.”
On August 23rd, a delegation of organizations from the California Bay Area met with the Deputy District Director of Congresswoman Barbara Lee to discuss the high cost of receiving a phone call from a prison, jail or detention center. Member-organizations of the delegation included the Center for Media Justice, Media Alliance, The Utility Reform Network (TURN) and Ella Baker Center.
On August 14, a delegation of organizations from Charleston met with Senator Jay Rockefeller’s staff to discuss the high cost of receiving a phone call from a prison, jail or detention center. Organizations in the delegation included Advocare, Citizens United for Rehabilitation (CURE), West Virginia Record, and Senior Legal Aid.
On August 21st a delegation of organizations from the New York area met with Representative Yvette Clarke (Brooklyn) to discuss the high cost of receiving a phone call from a prison, jail or detention center.
Since the genesis of the campaign for prison phone justice, one thing has become increasingly clear – when it comes to this issue, it isn’t just party-line politics as usual. So, what is the driving force behind this diverse coalition – which has brought together civil rights organizations, conservative leaders, and media rights and access advocates?