Reform Phone Rates for Inmates’ Families

Your Take: An FCC vote to reduce predatory prices would make it easier for prisoners to successfully re-enter society.

Mignon Clyburn testifying before Senate committee in March 2013 (T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)

Clyburn has been a vocal advocate for these families, saying that “connecting husbands to wives, parents to children and grandparents to grandchildren should be a national priority.” But she is only acting chairwoman, with a narrow window of opportunity to make progress on this issue.

Industry veteran Tom Wheeler‘s nomination for the post is pending in the Senate, and it’s imperative that he take cues from Clyburn’s tenure. FCC policies impact all of us, and Clyburn has shown what’s possible when the commission uses its power to improve the lives and well-being of everyday families.

The civil and human rights community has every reason to believe that Wheeler shares these priorities. This vote isn’t the final step in capping these predatory rates, and Wheeler can demonstrate his commitment, once he is confirmed by the Senate, by swiftly advancing this effort.

Friday’s vote is a welcome step for the millions of families that must choose between staying in touch with loved ones and putting food on the table. It’s also a small, but important, policy change to reform our broken criminal-justice system.

Wade Henderson is the president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 200 national civil and human rights groups.

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