2. FREE COMMUNICATIONSWe demand that all federal, state and local prison facilities, along with telecommunications companies that provide services to incarcerated individuals, must immediately supply families with FREE COMMUNICATIONS via phone, email, postage mail, and video conferencing services as a means to mitigate the emotional trauma resulting from the uncertainty of the health and wellbeing of our parents behind bars.
• Telecommunications companies such as AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint and Comcast are playing an important role in helping customers stay connected to their families by offering support to their customers by providing free service, extended data, waived fees, and free international phone calls to their customers most severely impacted worldwide by the COVID-19 virus pandemic.
• We demand that federal, state and local prison facilities allot free phone calls, postage mail, email and video conferencing to parents behind bars no, matter their children’s age.
• The Bureau of Prisons (BOP), in light of the pandemic, allotted an additional 200 phone call minutes to the existing 300 monthly phone call minutes, totaling 500 minutes per month for people in prison. These additional 200 minutes are not free of charge and cost additional money. That presents a challenge to children and families who do not have the economic means during a national crisis to allot more funding towards jail and prison calls.
• The emotional, physical and mental anxiety of not being able to hug, touch or see our parents, coupled with the commodization of remaining connected to them via communication services is inhumane, harmful and increases the strain of parental separation for children with parents in prison.
• Studies have consistently found that incarcerated people who maintain close contact with their family members while incarcerated have better post-release outcomes and lower recidivism rates.