In an oddly placed story, the Arts and Entertainment section of the Star Tribune in Minnesota covered the cost of phone calls for inmates after the FCC decided that it would not support caps on cost for inmates to make calls. The article starts out talking about the Netflix series, Orange is the New Black, but this issue isn't fiction, it's impacting families all over the United States.
In criminal justice reform this issue could easily get lost when larger issues like mental health are so incredibly necessary and overwhelming. But after reading that some prisons are charging as much as $8.20 for the first minute of call time, I have to believe that most of us would see this as terribly unjust. According to the Star Tribune article, there are 15,000 children in Minnesota who have a parent in prison. It might be easy for people to dismiss the high cost of phone calls for inmates, because they are after all, inmates. But in reality, this cost is prohibitive for many families, and particularly prohibitive for families in poverty. I don't have any statistics on whether or not families with a family member in prison are living in poverty, but I'm sure that the majority of those families are living in poverty.
If our connections to community are helpful in building resilience, then the simple act of being able to communicate with family, even if they are in prison, seems like something we should support - if not for the inmates, at least for the children who are living without their parent in their life.
The link to the article is below.