FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Brian Dolinar, Program Director, Independent Media Center, (217) 621-5827, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center (UCIMC) is proud to announce that as of January 1, 2018, a new state law took effect reducing by half the cost of phone calls from Illinois prisons. We would like to express our deepest gratitude to State Representative Carol Ammons for championing HB6200, The Family Connections Bill, passed in mid-2016.
The bill sets the cost of phone calls from Illinois prisons at a maximum rate of seven cents per minute. A 30-minute phone call, which used to cost four dollars, will now be about two dollars. This bill is already having immediate impact for thousands of people with a loved one in prison.
Wandjell Harvey-Robinson, whose parents were incarcerated when she was in the third grade and who grew up talking to them on the phone, is pleased to see the new rates in place: “We did it! I’m elated with the joy this victory brings to families who might be burdened with the expenses of phone calls from a loved one who is incarcerated. We must work together to make policies that help these families―they are a part of our community!”
State Representative Carol Ammons reacted to the passage of HB6200: “In a time where private companies are pushing more and more into our public services, I am proud to sponsor a bill that ensures profit does not take precedence over basic human dignity.”
Brian Dolinar, UCIMC Program Director, who provided educational support for the bill, said: “The campaign for prison phone justice in Illinois shows that reform is possible even as we see the rollback of industry regulations by the FCC under Trump. With implementation of HB6200, Illinois becomes a leader in providing affordable phone calls for those incarcerated and their families.”
UCIMC continues to work with national partners in the Campaign for Prison Phone Justice, and their assistance has been essential to this victory for those living in Illinois. We are also grateful for funding provided by the Media Democracy Fund to support our efforts. Lastly, we want to thank those incarcerated and their families for being willing to advocate on their own behalf.