The average price of a 15-minute phone call from jail is around $3. | Photo by Michael Reichel/picture alliance via Getty Images

A new rule allowing the Federal Communications Commission to regulate the rates of prison phone calls is one step closer to becoming law. After it passed through Congress last week, the Martha Wright-Reed Just and Reasonable Communications Act of 2022 now awaits President Joe Biden’s signature.

The prison phone call industry has been broken for decades, with telecommunications companies, like Global Tel Link and Pay Tel Communications, charging unfair fees for phone and video calls from inmates. These fees vary by state, but they involve the phone provider offering kickbacks to prisons and local governments using the money they collect from the friends and families of incarcerated people. The result is a $1.4 billion industry built on…

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