The first round of comments on the FCC’s Second Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding the reduction of the cost of all inmate calls are in. Here is one of the more interesting insights we have gleaned from those submissions:
The Prison Policy Initiative’s submission on advanced inmate communications services in prison discusses the very real need that these new services (such as the meshDETECT Secure Prison Cell Phone Solution) address:
These Services Address a Real Need
“These services are typically bundled with other communications services, and we rarely see them given much attention in industry bids for contracts. Surprisingly, we didn’t find many examples of the industry even bothering to explain the value that these services provide, so we will do so here:
Traditionally, there are only a few ways that incarcerated people and loved ones on the outside can communicate:
• By letter, sent by either party through the U.S. mail, with all of the delays that that entails.
• By visit in person, sometimes at great distance and sometimes arranged in advance, and always initiated by the non-incarcerated person.
• By telephone, always initiated by the incarcerated person.
These three avenues leave some serious gaps, namely that there is no way to send a timely message to an incarcerated person, such as:
• Your father just passed away.
• I was at home for your regular weekly call, but the doorbell rang right before you called and