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New York Becomes First Major City to Offer Free Calls from...

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New York City is about to become the first major city to provide free phone calls to people in prison.

 

Calls at Rikers Island currently cost 50-cents for the first minute, with 5-cents for each additional minute. In nine months, the law will take effect and make these calls free.

 

Prison-rights groups in the city have been advocating for free calls, saying that the calls are a important right to those incarcerated.

 

“Being able to contact the outside world is so incredibly important when you’re behind walls,” said Bianca Tylek, the director of the Corrections Accountability Project. She also added that free calls are especially important to those in jail awaiting trial.

 

However, the bill is also facing backlash. The correction officers' union says free phone calls could aid gangs that run operations from inside jail.

 

Tylek commented that penalizing everyone for potential activity is more harmful than helpful.