Photo by Angel Franco for the New York Times
The Federal Communications Commission has no say in regulating the costs of prison phone calls, a federal court ruled Wednesday.
In a 2-1 ruling, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said that the FCC had overstepped its authority, ruling that the agency did not have the right to create rate caps for prison phone calls.
As the New York Times reports:
The FCC rules were challenged by telecom firms that argued against the FCC’s economic calculations for price caps and told the court that the agency did not have the authority to regulate the in-state prison phone rates.
The cost of calls from prison can reach as high as $10 a minute, with the calls typically placed through private telecommunications firms. Initially, the FCC had been preparing a legal defense of its rule but that effort was stopped Donald Trump appointed Ajit Pai to chair the FCC. In February, Pai said agency lawyers would no longer argue to defend its rules in court. Prior to his appointment as chair, Pai was a commissioner for the FCC, where he was still against prison phone rate rules.
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