WASHINGTON, Aug. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced today that it will make reforms to ensure that the rates for interstate long-distance calls made by prison inmates are just, reasonable, and fair. Brattle principal Coleman Bazelon recently prepared a Declaration that was included in comments submitted by Martha Wright, et. al. to the FCC providing an economic analysis of what a "just and reasonable" rate would be for collect and debit calls made from U.S. prison institutions. Dr. Bazelon's analysis of costs was used by the Commission to support its newly established safe harbor of $0.12 per minute for interstate debit calls and $0.14 per minute for interstate collect calls.
In response to the FCC's vote, Dr. Bazelon said, "With this Order, the FCC took an important step in correcting the failed market for inmate calling services. The caps and safe harbors established by the FCC today provide sufficient revenue for inmate service providers to recover the costs of providing inmate calling services, including prison-specific security functions, and still make a reasonable return on their investments. Furthermore, these lower rates will lead to significant broader social benefits as a result of greater prisoner family and community contact."
In his Declaration, filed in response to the FCC's December 2012 notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR), Dr. Bazelon addressed some of the costs and benefits of implementing a national maximum rate for debit and collect calls, and concluded 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 is available at www.brattle.com. The FCC is expected to issue the official Order in the coming days.
The Brattle Group provides consulting services and expert testimony in economics and finance to corporations, law firms, and public agencies worldwide. Areas of expertise include antitrust and competition, valuation and damages, utility regulatory policy and ratemaking, and regulation and planning in network industries. For more information, please visit www.brattle.com.
SOURCE The Brattle Group