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Politico Piece on Wright Petition / ‘Middle of Nowhere’

FCC could cut inmates’s phone rates 

It might cost less for federal prisoners to call grandma, if a government panel makes calls cheaper for inmates.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is under pressure to enact a new rule that would lower the price of prison calls — which can start at $3 to $4 just to connect and 89 cents a minute after that.

“It is my hope that soon the chairman will propose a rulemaking for a vote by the full commission that will lead to lower interstate long-distance rates for incarcerated individuals and their families,” Democratic Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said in a release Monday.

Clyburn said families could spend $34 over and above their basic monthly phone rate to speak twice a month for a total of 30 minutes.

The push started when Martha Wright filed a petition at the FCC in 2003 after her grandson, Ulandis Forte, was sent to prison. Wright, who is in her eighties, had difficulty visiting her grandson as he was moved from prison, and since she is blind, writing a letter wasn’t an option.

Clyburn attended a screening of the documentary “Middle of Nowhere,” which chronicles the story of Ruby Sexton and her husband, Derek, after he is sentenced to eight years in a California prison. The Ava DuVernay-written and -directed movie won the 2012 Sundance Film Festival Award for Directing.

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