The National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocate

Resolution 2006-02


Whereas, the prices for telephone calls from inmates of correctional institutions to their families, friends, and professionals who serve them, are often unreasonably high and unaffordable; and

Whereas, the prices for telephone calls from inmates of correctional institutions often recover the costs of investments, expenses or programs that are unrelated to the cost of telecommunications, and

Whereas, the high cost of calls from inmates often recover revenues paid by telecommunications carriers to states or their correctional departments in the form of “commissions”; and

Whereas, it is widely accepted that a correctional institution inmate’s telephone communication with family, friends, and professionals can be an important factor in his/her chances of rehabilitation; and

Whereas, it is widely accepted that telephone calls by inmates are being substantially repressed or entirely forgone as a direct result of the prices of such calls; and

Whereas, because most inmate calling arrangements require calls to be made as collect calls, which are paid by the family and friends of the inmate, thus burdening those persons who are not incarcerated; and

Whereas, the price of intraLATA and interLATA toll calls has dropped dramatically over the last decade for all segments of that market except for inmates of correctional institutions; and

Whereas, the problem is national in scope, but also implicates intrastate issues;

Whereas, some state public utility commissions may lack jurisdiction under state law over telephone rates set by correctional institutions or their contracting parties;

Wherefore, it is resolved that NASUCA urges states, the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Congress under their proper jurisdictions to take action to reform inmate telephone rates by:

  1. Ensuring that the price of calls from inmates are just and reasonable, and
  2. Discouraging or reducing “commissions” paid by telephone companies to correctional institutions, and
  3. Encouraging the use of prepaid debit accounts for inmates whereby inmates or their called parties may buy low-cost minutes, and
  4. Continuing to allow collect calls from inmates but at rates that are just and reasonable; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NASUCA authorizes the Telecommunications Committee and Consumer Protection Committee, with the consent of the Executive Committee, to develop specific positions and to take appropriate actions consistent with the terms of this resolution.  Those committees shall notify the membership of any action taken pursuant to this resolution.


Endorsed by the Telecommunications Committee

Approved by NASUCA:

Place:  Miami Beach, Florida