Watch CBS News

Prison phone calls now free for Massachusetts inmates

CBS News Live
CBS News Boston Live

BOSTON - Massachusetts has joined a handful of other states in making jail and prison phone calls free for inmates.

In November, Gov. Maura Healey signed into law "an act providing for unlimited free phone calls to incarcerated individuals." The new policy was officially implemented Friday.

According to the Prison Policy Initiative, the Department of Correction was previously charging 12 cents per minute for calls, while county jails were charging 14 cents a minute. Whoever was receiving the phone call would get charged. 

"No cost calls will alleviate the financial burden and remove barriers for an individual in MA DOC custody to stay connected with their outside support system," DOC Commissioner Carol Mici said in a statement. "Strong family support helps to advance the rehabilitative process, reduces recidivism, and contributes to successful reentry upon release."  

Back in 2021, sheriffs in Massachusetts agreed to give inmates 10 minutes of free phone calls a week, but advocates have long pushed to make the calls free. They say families of those in prison have had to choose between adding money to their loved ones' prison phone accounts or paying rent and buying groceries.

 "After many years of struggle led by directly affected people, we are delighted to see this pass," Prisoners' Legal Services of Massachusetts Senior Attorney Bonnie Tenneriello said in a statement.

Connecticut, Minnesota, Colorado and California have also made prison phone calls free of charge.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.