Dear Democracy Now! Visitor: We are an independent, ad-free daily news program that serves millions of viewers and listeners each month. Our show is special because we make it our priority to go where the silence is. We put a spotlight on corporate and government abuses of power and lift up the stories of ordinary people working to make change in extraordinary times. We do all of this with just a fraction of the budget and staff of a commercial news show. We do it without ads, corporate sponsorship or government funding. How is this possible? Only with your support. If everyone who visited our website in the next week donated just $15, we would cover all of our operating costs for the year. We can't do it without you. Please donate today. It takes just a couple of minutes to do your part to make sure Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else.

Your Donation: $
Thursday, December 16, 1999 FULL SHOW | HEADLINES | PREVIOUS: U.S. and Cuba Battle Over Custody of Cuban Boy Elian...
1999-12-16

Phone Companies Sued for Ripping Off Families and Friends of Prisoners with Artificially High Phone Charges

download:   Get CD/DVD More Formats
This is viewer supported news

Prisons, in theory, were intended as places for rehabilitation and punishment, but more and more are being used as places for corporations to make a profit. With the U.S. prison population projected to reach 2 million this February, major telephone companies such as AT&T and MCI offer states large commissions, sometimes as large as 55 percent-to charge excessively high rates for calls made to the families and friends of prisoners. A study for the Florida legislature conducted last year found that 11 of the 12 states with the largest prison populations earned revenue in this manner. New York projects phone commission income of $21.5 million for this fiscal year.

Guest:

  • Michael Deutsch, a lawyer based in Chicago who is suing on behalf of families in Illinois.
  • Steve Whitman, Organizer, Prison Phone Project. He works with families and friends of inmates to fight against the phone rates.

Creative Commons License The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

This is viewer supported news