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The prison inmate phone call business is a multi-billion dollar industry that has been gouging families and those locked up behind bars for years.

FCC Commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn joined Roland Martin on Tuesday’s edition of NewsOne Now to discuss what is currently being done to reduce the outrageous costs of communicating with someone who is incarcerated.

“For individual families, it is not uncommon to pay upwards of $500 on the average a month” to stay in contact with an incarcerated family member, said Clyburn.

She added these exorbitant costs are being paid by “the most economically vulnerable families in our society.”

“They’re being weighted with a burden, not only of a loved one who might have been the primary bread-winner — now that bread-winner is gone and now that family is in essence being overly taxed” for making a phone call, said Clyburn.

According to the FCC Commissioner, “it is not uncommon for a family to pay a little over a dollar a minute to speak to a loved one.” She added, “in an age with all you can eat communications,” this practice of price gouging is “outrageous.”

“There is a perverse economic incentive” for the companies that supply phone service to prisons and for the prison facilities themselves, said Clyburn.

A system of “commissions” resides at the heart of the inflated costs and the FCC has been petitioned to step in and “regulate rates.” Commissioner Clyburn told Martin, host of NewsOne Now, that on October 22nd, the FCC has an opportunity to bring “sanity and just and reasonable rates” to those families that use these services to communicate with incarcerated loved ones.

Watch Roland Martin, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, and the NewsOne Now panel discuss the price gouging practices of the prison phone industry that is raking in billions of dollars on the backs of economically vulnerable families in the video clip above.

TV One’s NewsOne Now has moved to 7 A.M. ET, be sure to watch “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin, in its new time slot on TV One.

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FCC Commissioner Confronts Inmate Phone Call Price Gouging Raking In Billions On The Backs Of Vulnerable Families  was originally published on