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March 26, 2013
Declaration Authored by Brattle Economist Addresses Just and Reasonable Rates for Interstate Inmate Calling Services

Brattle principal Coleman Bazelon recently prepared a Declaration that was included in comments submitted to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) in response to their recent notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) on rates for interstate inmate calling services (ICS). The comments, filed on March 25, 2013, urge the FCC to adopt a benchmark ICS rate cap at Brattle principal Coleman Bazelon recently prepared a Declaration that was included in comments submitted to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) in response to their recent notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) on rates for interstate inmate calling services (ICS). The comments, filed on March 25, 2013, urge the FCC to adopt a benchmark ICS rate cap at $0.07 per minute for interstate calls originating from public, private, state, county, and local correctional and detention facilities. The FCC instituted the NOPR to grant two long-pending petitions filed in 2003 and 2007 for rulemaking, which sought to establish just and reasonable “charges, practices, classifications, and regulations” relating to ICS. In the comments filed, the Petitioners seek that the FCC establish a benchmark ICS rate cap for debit, pre-paid, and collect calls, with no per-call rate and no other ancillary fees or taxes from all correctional and detention facilities. This proposed rate cap will continue to give ICS providers a fair profit for services, regardless of the size of the institution or volume of calls made from any given facility. Dr. Bazelon’s Declaration provides an economic analysis of what a “just and reasonable” rate would be for collect and debit calls made from U.S. prison institutions, and finds that a fixed rate no greater than $0.07 per minute for both debit and collect calls, as proposed, would meet the just and reasonable standard set forth in the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Dr. Bazelon also addresses some of the costs and benefits of implementing a national maximum rate for debit and collect calls, and concludes that the benefits likely far outweigh any associated costs. Furthermore, he found that the savings from reduced recidivism will almost certainly be greater than any commissions lost by prisons. Dr. Bazelon prepared the Declaration pro bono for Petitioners Martha Wright, et. al., the D.C. Prisoners’ Legal Services Project, Inc., Citizens for Rehabilitation of Errants, Prison Policy Initiative, and the Campaign for Prison Phone Justice. The Declaration can be downloaded using the link below..07 per minute for interstate calls originating from public, private, state, county, and local correctional and detention facilities. The FCC instituted the NOPR to grant two long-pending petitions filed in 2003 and 2007 for rulemaking, which sought to establish just and reasonable “charges, practices, classifications, and regulations” relating to ICS. In the comments filed, the Petitioners seek that the FCC establish a benchmark ICS rate cap for debit, pre-paid, and collect calls, with no per-call rate and no other ancillary fees or taxes from all correctional and detention facilities. This proposed rate cap will continue to give ICS providers a fair profit for services, regardless of the size of the institution or volume of calls made from any given facility. Dr. Bazelon’s Declaration provides an economic analysis of what a “just and reasonable” rate would be for collect and debit calls made from U.S. prison institutions, and finds that a fixed rate no greater than Brattle principal Coleman Bazelon recently prepared a Declaration that was included in comments submitted to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) in response to their recent notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) on rates for interstate inmate calling services (ICS). The comments, filed on March 25, 2013, urge the FCC to adopt a benchmark ICS rate cap at $0.07 per minute for interstate calls originating from public, private, state, county, and local correctional and detention facilities. The FCC instituted the NOPR to grant two long-pending petitions filed in 2003 and 2007 for rulemaking, which sought to establish just and reasonable “charges, practices, classifications, and regulations” relating to ICS. In the comments filed, the Petitioners seek that the FCC establish a benchmark ICS rate cap for debit, pre-paid, and collect calls, with no per-call rate and no other ancillary fees or taxes from all correctional and detention facilities. This proposed rate cap will continue to give ICS providers a fair profit for services, regardless of the size of the institution or volume of calls made from any given facility. Dr. Bazelon’s Declaration provides an economic analysis of what a “just and reasonable” rate would be for collect and debit calls made from U.S. prison institutions, and finds that a fixed rate no greater than $0.07 per minute for both debit and collect calls, as proposed, would meet the just and reasonable standard set forth in the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Dr. Bazelon also addresses some of the costs and benefits of implementing a national maximum rate for debit and collect calls, and concludes that the benefits likely far outweigh any associated costs. Furthermore, he found that the savings from reduced recidivism will almost certainly be greater than any commissions lost by prisons. Dr. Bazelon prepared the Declaration pro bono for Petitioners Martha Wright, et. al., the D.C. Prisoners’ Legal Services Project, Inc., Citizens for Rehabilitation of Errants, Prison Policy Initiative, and the Campaign for Prison Phone Justice. The Declaration can be downloaded using the link below..07 per minute for both debit and collect calls, as proposed, would meet the just and reasonable standard set forth in the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Dr. Bazelon also addresses some of the costs and benefits of implementing a national maximum rate for debit and collect calls, and concludes that the benefits likely far outweigh any associated costs. Furthermore, he found that the savings from reduced recidivism will almost certainly be greater than any commissions lost by prisons. Dr. Bazelon prepared the Declaration pro bono for Petitioners Martha Wright, et. al., the D.C. Prisoners’ Legal Services Project, Inc., Citizens for Rehabilitation of Errants, Prison Policy Initiative, and the Campaign for Prison Phone Justice. The Declaration can be downloaded using the link below.