Jenner & Block

Jenner & Block’s Pro Bono Efforts Lead to FCC Order Lowering Prison Phone Rates

A Jenner & Block team helped secure an order from the Federal Communications Commission lowering the rates that incarcerated persons and their families pay for phone calls.

On May 20, 2021, the Commission adopted an order lowering the interim rate caps on interstate inmate calling services to $0.12 per minute for all prisons and $0.14 for jails with average daily populations of 1,000 or more. The order also establishes caps on international calling services rates for the first time at all prison and jail facilities. 

The team represented the Wright Petitioners, named after the late Martha Wright, who had struggled to pay for phone calls from her incarcerated grandson and later pushed for changes to the rules surrounding rates. The petitioners were among several advocacy groups and civil rights organizations that urged the Commission to lower the calling rates.

“The Wright Petitioners applaud the leadership of Acting Chairwoman Rosenworcel and the Federal Communications Commission for taking this important incremental step toward providing much-needed relief for incarcerated people and their families from unreasonably high calling rates and fees, including capping international rates for the first time,” said Rebekah P. Goodheart, co-chair of the firm’s Communications, Internet, and Technology Practice who led the team representing the Wright Petitioners. “Studies consistently show that keeping in contact while incarcerated reduces recidivism. We look forward to working with the Commission on further reforms to bring additional relief to incarcerated persons and their loved ones.”

The team included Partner Howard J. Symons and Associate Gregory R. Capobianco. Senior Paralegal Cheryl Olson and Practice Assistant Beth Gulden provided key support. 

TAGS: Federal Communications Commission, Prison, Pro Bono

PEOPLE: Howard J. Symons, Gregory R. Capobianco

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