FCC to weigh decrease in prison phone charges


WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission plans to propose rules to lower rates charged to prison inmates for interstate telephone calls. The issue has been under consideration nine years.

The agency said last week it would consider rate caps and other measures to rein in costs in the $1.2 billion market dominated by Global Tel*Link Corp. and Securus Technologies Inc., companies owned by private-equity firms.

Civil rights and religious groups have pressed the FCC to act on a petition filed in 2003 by prisoners and family members to cut rates they termed exorbitant that they said isolate prisoners from family members.