Forte and Wright are only the most well known among thousands of families struggling to stay in contact with incarcerated relatives. Their fight lies at the heart of more than a decade of work by lawyers and activists -in courts and before the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to find relief. Yet fifteen years later, with only some successes to claim, the fight continues, stalled repeatedly by bureaucracy and the power of corporate lobbyists.
But even as that phone battle looks for resolution, the companies providing those phones are finding new and creative ways to make an array of new services essential to prison management. And nearly all come at a cost to inmates and their families.
PROGRESS, PUSHBACK AND KICKBACKS
The evidence is clear inmates who stay in regular contact with families and friends fare much better in prison, adjust to life better upon release and have a dramatically better chance of staying out of prison. Phone calls are intended to solve a critical problem when visitation becomes both a financial and logistical burden.