FCC cutting price of inmate phone calls - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

FCC cutting price of inmate phone calls


Chippewa County (WQOW)- The Federal Communications Commission has issued a new rule that would put a cap on how much local jails and state prisons can charge inmates for making phone calls.

What the FCC has decided on is a maximum of 11 cents per minute, and many sheriff departments across the state are pushing back.

Inmates at the Chippewa County Jail are charged 25 cents per minute for their calls.  Jail administrator Captain Ernan De La Rosa said that the 25 cents goes to keeping the phones up and running, and cutting that price by more than half to follow FCC regulation, could jeopardize have phones in service at all.

"Is there going to be an impact financially, of course.  Do I know what that is right now, no.  Do I think that we'll be able to sustain this if we keep it going at what the FCC ruling is looking at doing, probably not.  I know that some places have even looked at doing, talking about stripping the phones out of the jails and using some other form to let the inmates communicate with the outside because they are worried about sustainability," said De La Rosa.

As of now, the 11 cents per minute maximum is scheduled to be effective on June 20.  Chippewa County, along with many other counties across the state, have filed an appeal of the rule, saying it's unconstitutional for the FCC to have authority over the state and counties.  They hope to hear back on the appeal sometime in April.

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