New York City has become the first major city in the United States to give jail inmates free phone calls, MayorBill de Blasio's (D) office announced on Wednesday.
“For too long have people in custody faced barriers to basic aspects of everyday life that can help create more humane jails,” de Blasiosaid in a statement.
“With free phone calls, we’re eliminating one of those barriers and ensuring that people in custody have the opportunity to remain connected to their lawyers, families and support networks that are so crucial to re-entry into one’s community,” he added.
According to de Blasio’s office, people held at the city’s jails had been charged 50 cents for the first minute of a phone call and another 5 cents per additional minute.
But with the implementation of legislation passed by the City Council last year, the city's Department of Correction will cover the cost of inmates' phone calls.
“People in general population will be able to make calls totaling 21 minutes every three hours to anywhere in the United States, including U.S. territories,” the office said. “The limit on single calls is 15 minutes.”
More than 25,000 calls are made from jails in the city each day.
According to The Associated Press, the city will be installing additional phone lines in jails to handle the increase in calls.
SOURCE: THE HILL