All inmates being held in New York City jails will no longer have to pay a fee to make a phone call, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday.
The Democratic mayor said waiving the fee for the city’s more than 8,000 inmates will keep them better connected to family and friends. “For too long, people in custody have faced barriers to basic aspects of everyday life that can help create more humane jails,” he said in a statement. “With free phone calls, we’re eliminating one of those barriers.”
Inmates make more than 25,000 calls from the city’s jails each day, according to city data. They were previously charged 50 cents for the first minute of a call and 5 cents for each additional minute. The fees brought in around $5.5 million in revenue to the city this fiscal year. Last summer, de Blasio signed into law a bill waiving the phone fees to inmates. The law went fully into effect on Wednesday, city officials said.
Under the new law, most inmates are allowed to make free domestic phone calls of up to 21 minutes every three hours. Single calls are limited to 15 minutes, according to the city.
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