Wisconsin bill aims to ban high fees for jail phone calls

Local News

FILE – In this Nov. 27, 2017 file photo, inmate Lance Shaver talks on the phone at the Albany County Correctional Facility in Albany, N.Y. New York City has become the first major city in the U.S. to offer free phone calls from jails. Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday, May 1, 2019, that the city has fully implemented a law passed by the City Council last August to eliminate fees for inmate phone calls. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Democratic lawmakers are proposing a law that would stop county jails from charging excessive fees for phone calls.

The bill would cap jail call charges to the same rates that national prepaid wireless telephone providers charge, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.

It comes after a report from the Prison Policy Initiative found that some Wisconsin counties charges over $14 for a 15-minute phone call. Democrat Rep. Samba Baldeh is supporting the bill.

He says those charges amount to making a profit on inmates who have not been convicted of any crimes and cuts them off from friends and family.

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