by James Lowery
Legacy has communicated to our valued clients for the past several months, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has
been considering proposing new rate regulations
on all inmate calling.
As a recap, in
2013 the FCC capped interstate calling rates at $0.25 for collect calls and
$0.21 for prepaid calls (FCC
13-113). Now, in partnership with Commissioner Clyburn, Chairman Wheeler is
proposing to cap rates for all ICS calls –
local, long-distance, and international – while limiting fees on calls.
has released notice that it will consider a final ruling on proposed rate caps
during its open meeting scheduled for October 22, 2015.
has put together the following Fact Sheet that details the proposed
regulations. Legacy will be updating its blog with more information about the
regulations as information is disseminated by the FCC.
Key Point of the Proposed Regulations per
caps on all inmate calling rates
These new caps will reduce the average rates for the
vast majority of inmate calls, from $2.96 to no more than $1.65 for a 15-minute
intrastate call, and from $3.15 to no more than $1.65 for a 15-minute interstate
rate structure accommodates the higher relative costs faced by jails (especially
small jails) as opposed to state and federal prisons. The rate caps are as
for debit/prepaid calls, in state or federal prisons.
for debit/prepaid calls in jails with 1,000 or more inmates.
cents /minute for debit/prepaid calls in jails with 350-999 inmates.
cents /minute for debit/prepaid calls in jails of up to 349 inmates.
for collect calls are slightly higher in the first year and will be phased down
to these caps after a two-year transition period.
71% of inmates reside in state or federal prisons.
85% of inmates reside in institutions with populations exceeding 1,000.
the exception of the rate for small jails, these rates are lower than the current
21 cents/minute interim cap on interstate rates.
caps permit recovery for robust security measures, as reflected in costs that
ICS providers filed with the Commission.
and cap ancillary service charges to the following list of permitted charges:
payment by phone or website: $3.
through a live agent: $5.95.
bill fee: $2.
financial transaction fees, such as fees charged by MoneyGram or Western Union,
may be passed through with no mark-up.
other ancillary service charges are prohibited.
taxes and regulatory fees may be passed through with no mark-up.
“site commission” payments by providers to institutions
the term “site commission” broadly as payments in money or services from inmate
calling service providers to correctional institutions or government agencies.
the cost of site commissions in establishing the rate caps and strongly discourages
the use of site commissions.
to monitor the effect of site commissions on rates but does not restrict ICS providers’
sharing or profits if such payments fit within the rate caps.
providers from imposing so-called “flat-rate calling,” that is, a flat rate for
a call up to 15 minutes regardless of actual call duration.
that this practice violates statutory mandates requiring that rates be just,
reasonable, and fair, and penalizes callers who stay on the phone less than 15
access for people with disabilities
providers to offer discounted rates for telephone relay service (TRS) calls for
inmates with communications disabilities.
correctional institutions of their obligation to make TRS available to people with
jails and prisons to allow commonly used forms of TRS and requires them to report
service quality issues.
rate caps, site commission and ancillary service charge reforms to go into
effect 90 days from the effective date of the Order.
Review and Oversight
to reevaluate impact of reforms and rates in two years to determine if adjustments
need to be made.
annual reporting and certification by ICS providers, to ensure compliance and
enable monitoring of developments
Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking:
further comment on promoting competition in inmate calling services without the
need for additional regulation
visitation and other advanced inmate communications services
Mandatory Data Collection
know your thoughts on the pending FCC inmate telephone regulations for prisons and
detention facilities by leaving a comment below, or dropping us a line on Facebook or Google+.
Legacy is a nationwide provider and has been a leader in the
inmate communications industry for over 18 years, with headquarters in Cypress,
California. We provide favorable rates
for friends and family, unparalleled customer service and a host of technology
options that complement all parties involved in reducing inmate recidivism.
Legacy is unique in that it is a single-source provider, researching,
developing, building integration and implementing every aspect of its Inmate
Telephone Systems and Video Visitation Systems.