LINCOLN, Neb – Today Senator John McCollister introduced LB776 addressing the costs of phone calls from prisoners in Nebraska county jails. In November, the ACLU released findings from a statewide study of county practices. The ACLU found that facilities in Nebraska were charging between $5-$15 for a 15-minute phone call, with fees making the real costs of a 15-minute call as much as $20.
ACLU of Nebraska Executive Director Danielle Conrad released the following statement in response:
“We thank Senator McCollister for his leadership to establish fair-market telephone prices for incarcerated Nebraskans. The ACLU of Nebraska’s research found that some counties and private companies are making huge profits when incarcerated Nebraskans make calls to their loved ones and when they communicate with their attorneys. Maintaining strong bonds with family helps to ensure successful transitions back to our communities that reduce recidivism. For Nebraskans awaiting trial in county jails, accessible private calls with their attorneys are essential for a fair trial.
“Leaders from across the political spectrum agree that for-profit companies shouldn’t be profiting off critical lifelines that the families of poor Nebraskans in jail cannot afford. This legislation advances our shared public safety goals and ensures basic fairness regardless where Nebraskans are incarcerated and regardless of the size of their bank account.”