San Francisco Becomes First In The Nation To Make Jail Phone Calls Free

In an effort to stop generating money from incarcerated people and families

August 10, 2020
Prison

Getty Images

Categories: 

A few months after San Francisco announced steps the city was taking on police reform, Mayor London Breed has announced that SF is the first in the nation to make all phone calls from county jails free.

This comes as communication between inmates and their families is critical due to the ongoing pandemic and continued release of inmates in California to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

The sheriff's office negotiated to get this taken care of at the lowest possible cost to taxpayers, the press release said.

Breed noted this is being done in an effort to "permanently stop generating revenue frm incarcerated people & families through phone calls, commissary markups, other services". In 2018 alone inmates & their families paid over $1 million just for phone calls to and from county jails.

For an inmate to make two 15-minute phone calls a day that would cost $1,500 a year, prior to this new plan. City treasurer José Cisneros said the city should investing in marginalized populations, not profiting off of them.