Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has unveiled a “Prisoner Bill of Rights” he plans to enact, if elected president, guaranteeing unlimited, free phone calls and video chats for inmates.
The “Prisoner Bill of Rights” is detailed as one element of Sanders’ comprehensive “Justice and Safety for All” criminal justice reform plan.
In the “End Profiteering in Our Criminal Justice System” section of his overall plan, Sanders argues that, since the prison phone industry is a billion-dollar-a-year business, taxpayers – and not inmates – should foot the bill:
‘The prison phone industry, for example, is a monopoly business worth more than $1 billion a year, with companies charging sky-high fees for telephone calls that many families can’t afford to pay to keep in touch with their loved ones. Today, 1 in 28 children has an incarcerated parent — a fifth of which are under four years old. Children with incarcerated parents tend to do worse in school, experience anxiety and depression, and develop behavioral issues.”
“As president, Bernie will: Make prison phone calls and other communications such as video chats free of charge.”
In the “Prisoner Bill of Rights” section, Sanders “guarantees” that inmates will have “Access to their families — including unlimited visits, phone calls, and video calls.”