(AP) — Connecticut
became the first state this week to make all prison
phone calls free, alleviating one of the most significant emotional and financial burdens on incarcerated men and women
and their families as they try to stay in touch.
The state has a contract with phone vendor Securus Technologies, which charges up to $5 for a 15-minute call, which is among the highest phone rates in the country.
The bill, signed into law
by Gov. Ned Lamont on Wednesday, could go into effect as early as next month, supporters said Friday, and it provides incarcerated men, women, and juveniles with a minimum of 90 minutes of free calls per day.
“We are on the right side of history
Rep. Josh Elliott, one of the bill’s supporters, said. “Corporations can no longer be allowed to exploit the love between incarcerated people
and their families — not in our state, not on our watch
Connecticut joins New York City
, San Francisco
, San Diego
, and Los Angeles
as jurisdictions across the country that have taken steps to make prison and jail phone calls free of charge.
“This historic legislation will change lives,” said Bianca Tylek, executive director of Worth Rises, which has been working with local advocates, many of whom have been directly impacted, to reduce prison phone costs. “It will keep food
on the table for struggling families, children
in touch with their parents, and our communities safer.”