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70 Grassroots Advocates, Civil Rights, Consumer Rights and Faith-based Organizations Urge Congress to Pass Just and Reasonable Communications Acts to Ensure Incarcerated People and their Loved Ones Can Stay Connected

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 

SEPTEMBER 19, 2022

CONTACT

media@colorofchange.org

70 Grassroots Advocates, Civil Rights, Consumer Rights and Faith-based Organizations Urge Congress to Pass Just and Reasonable Communications Acts to Ensure Incarcerated People and their Loved Ones Can Stay Connected 

Washington, D.C. — Today, more than 70 grassroots advocates, civil rights, consumer rights and faith-based organizations issued a joint-letter to congressional leaders urging an immediate House vote on H.R. 2489, the Martha Wright Prison Phone Justice Act, and S. 1541, the Martha Wright-Reed Just and Reasonable Communications Act, which would ensure incarcerated people can communicate with their loved ones without unjust call rates. 

Both H.R. 2489 and S.1541 would restore the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) ability to protect communications between incarcerated people and their loved ones, who often face high phone costs and unjust and predatory commercial practices. The House passed the text of H.R. 2489 last Congress as part of the Heroes Act in 2020, and the Communications and Technology Subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing on it last year. The coalition’s letter makes clear that legislation must pass Congress this year and that either bill will get the job done.

High communications costs have serious consequences for those impacted by the carceral system. Children cannot speak with incarcerated parents without sacrificing their financial security or giving up food or medication. Counsel cannot communicate with their clients who are in jail, jeopardizing their civil and due process rights. The passage of these bills would ensure protection against unjust rates by making it harder for companies to take advantage of incarcerated people and their families. 

The letter sent to congressional leaders and full list of signatories can be shared upon request.

The signatories of the letter include Color Of Change, Common Cause, Media Justice, Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund, Black Women's Roundtable, American Association of People with Disabilities, Communications Workers of America, The Episcopal Church, Prison Policy Initiative, and dozens of other national and local organizations. 

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  1. Adult Friends for Youth
  2. Advocates for Change
  3. American Association of People with Disabilities
  4. American Friends Service Committee
  5. American Humanist Association
  6. Americans for Prosperity
  7. Arizonans for Rational Sex Offense Laws
  8. Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC
  9. Black Women's Roundtable
  10. Center for Democracy & Technology
  11. Center for Responsible Lending
  12. Church of Scientology National Affairs Office
  13. Color Of Change
  14. Colorado-CURE, Inc.
  15. Common Cause
  16. Communications Workers of America
  17. Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
  18. Crossroads of Iowa
  19. DC Justice Lab
  20. Democracy Fund Voice
  21. The Episcopal Church
  22. Fight for the Future
  23. Fines and Fees Justice Center
  24. Florida FreePat 
  25. FREE! Families Rally for Emancipation and Empowerment
  26. Free Press Action
  27. Gellybean's Prison Out Reach
  28. Hawai'i Health & Harm Reduction Center
  29. Hawai‘i Friends of Restorative Justice
  30. In Our Own Voice: National Black Women's Reproductive Justice Agenda
  31. Incarcerated Nation Network
  32. Just Future Project
  33. Media Alliance
  34. MediaJustice
  35. Middle Ground Prison Reform
  36. More Than Our Crimes
  37. Muslim Advocates
  38. Narrative Arts
  39. National Capital Crime Assistance Network
  40. National Coalition on Black Civic Participation
  41. National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients)
  42. National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA)
  43. National CURE
  44. NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
  45. Oblates of St Francis de Sales
  46. OpenMedia
  47. pa. CURE
  48. Partners in Healthy Communities 
  49. Phoenix Reentry Resources
  50. Prison Policy Initiative
  51. The Prison Show
  52. Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty
  53. Public Knowledge
  54. The Real Cost of Prisons Project
  55. RIHD, INC 
  56. SMU Human Rights Program
  57. Soul Solutions LLC
  58. Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund
  59. Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc. (TDI)
  60. Titus House Ministries
  61. T J W Family Charitable Foundation
  62. Union for Reform Judaism
  63. United Church of Christ Media Justice Ministry
  64. Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center
  65. UV4SOR
  66. Vermont CURE
  67. Virginia Justice for Life
  68. Voqual
  69. The Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs
  70. Worth Rises
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