February 23, 2023

Duckworth Applauds Implementation of Her Bipartisan Law to Help Connect Incarcerated Americans with Their Families


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) applauded Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel for her actions to implement the Senator’s new law to strengthen the nation’s criminal justice system. The Senator’s law, the Martha Wright-Reed Just and Reasonable Communications Act, helps families keep in touch with their incarcerated family members, which studies have shown can help reduce recidivism rates and thereby save taxpayer dollars. The Chairwoman today outlined a proposal for rulemaking that would adhere to the legislation and expand the FCC’s authority over phone and video call rates for incarcerated Americans.

“I’m proud that Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel is embracing my law and taking swift action to ensure families who are only trying to check on their loved ones aren’t being financially burdened,” said Duckworth. “When we help ensure that phone rates in correctional facilities are reasonable, we are supporting families across America and improving the chances that rehabilitated offenders will be able to create productive, fulfilled lives upon their release.”

Last month, Duckworth hosted FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel and Ulandis Forte for a discussion of how her bipartisan Martha Wright-Reed Just and Reasonable Communications Act will help working families. Just one week prior to that virtual discussion, Duckworth’s bill was signed into law by President Biden.

This bipartisan law is named after Martha Wright-Reed, who advocated for more affordable phone rates for more than 20 years. After Martha’s grandson, Ulandis Forte, became incarcerated and she discovered how expensive it was to keep in contact with him, she sued the Corrections Corporation of American for their exorbitantly high phone call rates. The FCC first announced it would cap interstate prison phone call rates in 2013 after years of hard work by Martha Wright-Reed and other advocates. More information on the Martha Wright-Reed Just and Reasonable Communications Act is available here.