Louisana regulators voted Wednesday to roll back the cost of calls for prisoners phoning home, after a raucous hearing, reports the Baton Rouge Advocate. The state Public Service Commission changed a proposal to cut the rates charged for all prison calls by 25 percent in an order that lowered the costs for those calls to family, clergy, government officials and some others. The five elected members of the board approved the amended measure after hearing about four hours of often-angry testimony. The issue of pricey prison phone rates is a contentious subject in many states.
Sheriffs from around Louisiana testified that an across-the-board rate reduction in the cost of an inmate making a phone call from within a prison or jail would severely affect their budgets. Inmates are charged more because law enforcement is required to monitor calls that originate from behind prison walls, the sheriffs said. Supporters argued that the families of the incarcerated are the ones who are called upon to pay for the expensive phone calls.