Many prisoners’ rights groups recruit inmates and family members to agitate on behalf of what they perceive to be an unjust prison system that has become entrenched across the United States. From a political standpoint, this is always a tough row to hoe because of the generally toxic nature of the violent criminal demographic. People can muster sympathy for just about any group, even animals. But when the group includes rapists and murderers, it’s hard to get hard working Americans to pay a whole lot of attention to the cause being advocated for.
Nonetheless, these groups exist and often times land the powerful backing of groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center and even funds headed by George Soros. Such powerful backing by those willing to spend real money to promote some of their initiatives has allowed these groups and the people they represent to command a louder presence than they may have otherwise been able to put forth.
One area where prison reformists have targeted their ire is prison calling. The rates are largely perceived to be universally too high by these groups. They also tend to object to any aspect of the prison system being privatized, including the handling of phone calls. However, the evidence is clear that in many jurisdictions across the country, prisoners are making more phone calls than ever before. The private-public nexus between prisons and inmate communications providers has widely yielded rates of between 10 and 15 cents per minute. Such low rates hardly fit the typical reformists’ accusations of price gouging.