Calling for Change

Gold, Liv; Sturr, Chris
May 2006
Dollars & Sense;May/Jun2006, Issue 365, p7
The article reveals that the New York State Department of Correctional Services has engaged in a contract with MCI/Verizon to charge a high collect call rate for the prisoners and their families. The contract allows the state to collect 57.5% of the revenues from the calls. The state has netted over $175 million since the contract began in 1996. Since the revenues generated in this way come specifically from prisoners' family members and loved ones--people who are, on average, more likely to be poor--the system amounts to a back-door tax on the poor.


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