Common Cause in Connecticut Urges Governor Lamont to Sign Bill Easing the Burden of Costly Phone Calls on Families of People in Prison

A bill to provide cost-free telecommunications for people in correctional and juvenile detention facilities was approved by the state Senate on May 5th by a near unanimous vote (35-1), and by the House (94-51), last week. Connecticut charges people in prison more than any other state in the nation except Arkansas. Each year, about $5.5 million in annual phone call profits has been paid to a private corporation.

Statement of Cheri Quickmire, Executive Director of Common Cause in Connecticut

Friday, the Connecticut legislature made history as the first state in the country whose legislature voted to make prison phone calls free, with the passage of SB 972. Common Cause in Connecticut urges Governor Lamont to sign the legislation without delay.

Moms, Dads, young children, sisters, brothers and grandparents in Connecticut continue to pay as much as $5 every time they want to connect with an incarcerated loved one for just 15 minutes. This is true while COVID-19 continues to ravage prison systems, and incarcerated people are dying almost every day behind bars. If SB 972 is signed into law by Governor Lamont, Connecticut will finally ease the burden of costly prison phone calls to already suffering families. 

SB 972 saves Connecticut Moms, Dads and grandparents more than $12.2 million annually, and ensures that voice communications can never be used as a permanent replacement for in person contact and visitations. In more ways than one, SB 972 ensures that families are connected and currently incarcerated people have a greater chance at successful reentry after incarceration. 

For far too long Connecticut’s most distressed families have had to pay exorbitant amounts to connect with their loved ones. I am proud that our Legislature is the first in the country to make this important change. Congratulations to the Connecting Families Coalition and all who supported this important legislation. We urge Governor Lamont to sign it without delay.