We’ve written before about the importance of restorative justice in a truly effective criminal system, and a big part of that is ensuring that incarcerated individuals have access to resources to reduce recidivism rates and reintegrate as participating members of society. In an effort to bolster the rights of incarcerated individuals, Connecticut is now the first state to make all prison phone calls free.
While phone calls may not seem like an important part of restorative justice, financial barriers to communicating with loved ones and legal counsel can take a significant toll on incarcerated individuals.
The bill was signed into law by Governor Ned Lamont last week and could go into effect as early as next month. It ensures every incarcerated person 90 minutes a day of free calls. Right now, a 15-minute phone call in the state’s prisons can cost you up to five dollars.
Other cities, like San Francisco and San Diego, have made prison phone calls free, but Connecticut is the first state to do so. Representative Josh Elliott, a supporter of the legislation, said, “Corporations can no longer be allowed to exploit the love between incarcerated people and their families – not in our state, not on our watch.”