Washington, D.C., of counsel Lee Petro participated in discussions of expensive phone call rates for the incarcerated on the Huffington Post Live and Brian Lehrer TV. The issue is one Lee has tackled pro bono for several years.
The Huffington Post segment, titled, “Robbing Prisoner Calls” focused on the petition by families of inmates that demands phone rates in prisons be lowered, a petition that originally arrived at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) almost 10 years ago. Lee works with the Washington Lawyers Committee and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights to represent the original petitioner, Martha Wright, before the FCC.
The contributors discussed whether more phone calls would have a positive effect on rehabilitation.
Brian Lehrer TV is a weekly television broadcast hosted by the popular host of WNYC Radio's Brian Lehrer Show. Speaking on the show, Lee explained the progression of the case since the issue first went before the FCC in 2001. He noted that the FCC recently drafted a new set of proposed rules, which will be subject to a typically protracted comment/review process before any movement is seen.
When asked why he thinks the matter has languished for so long, Lee speculated that this issue has been “the hard one in the corner of [the FCC’s] desk” that they haven’t gotten to yet. He also said it doesn’t help that the petition has the image of helping prisoners, however, it is possible that the FCC has failed to recognize that it also helps families and society as a whole.
To watch the Huffington Post segment, click here.
To watch the Brian Lehrer TV segment, click here.