Nozzolio Announces Phone Charges To Be Reduced For Families Of Inmates

Michael F. Nozzolio

January 08, 2007

Albany- New York State Senator Michael F. Nozzolio (R,C-Fayette) today announced that the State Department of Correctional Services will reduce excessive telephone charges paid by the families of inmates at state correction facilities. This action by the Spitzer administration precedes a previously scheduled argument slated for Tuesday, January 9, before the New York State Court of Appeals, during which the plaintiffs are challenging the legality of the previous administration’s policy relating to the telephone costs.

"For many years I have fought to restore fairness to the policy of charging inmate’s families exorbitant rates for simply staying in contact with family members who are incarcerated," said Senator Nozzolio. "It is my belief that the benefits of keeping a family together far outweigh the revenue gained from the current practice. Governor Spitzer deserves tremendous credit for quickly addressing this issue and developing a comprehensive solution which restores fairness."

Long seen as an unfair tax on inmate families, the newly proposed rates will charge only the cost of the call, allowing families to maintain contact with their loved ones, without the undue financial burden of a State commission on the rate.

The Administration’s action was made after consultation with Senator Nozzolio, who has long advocated for this change in policy and who introduced legislation to end the excessive charge.

The action will be implemented by Brian Fischer, Acting Commissioner of the Department of Correctional Services, at the start of the April 1, 2007 fiscal year. The elimination of this commission will reduce the cost of these calls by at least 50 percent.