Rulemaking Considering Regulation of Telecommunication Services Used by Incarcerated People

 

Background

The Covid-19 crisis has made it difficult for in person visits to jails and prisons. Now more than ever, families and friends are bearing the costs to communicate with the incarcerated in California. This Rulemaking will consider how to ensure incarcerated people and their families have access to intrastate telecommunication service at just and reasonable rates.  In August 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed to update its caps on interstate calling from prisons and jails. Because the FCC does not have the authority for intrastate calls, they reached out the states, and the Commission now takes that call.

The main issue to be addressed in this proceeding is:

  • How should the Commission regulate the rates, terms, and conditions of telecommunications services provided to incarcerated people in California to ensure they are just and reasonable?

Issues determined to be within the scope of the proceeding include:

  • Should the Commission exercise its authority to regulate the companies that provide those telecommunications services to incarcerated minors and people in California and, if so, how?
  • Should the Commission set rate caps for intrastate calling for incarcerated people, including video calls?
  • Should the Commission limit the types of additional fees providers can charge users of calling services for incarcerated people?
  • Should the Commission act to protect calling services for incarcerated people with communications disabilities by limited charges for inmate calling services calls involving the use of text telephones (TYY)?

 

Public Participation Hearings

The Commission would like to hear from you. Virtual public hearings have been scheduled to hear your comments, concerns and opinions regarding the costs of calling from prisons and jails in California. Your participation by providing comments can help to inform the CPUC on these issues.

You can watch a livestream of the hearings or participate via telephone. Incarcerated persons wishing to participate in the public hearing must typically obtain advance approval to do so by providing the hearing call-in number to the facility where they reside. You can also submit comments by mail or post them on the CPUC’s public comment portal at any time.

Media Advisory

 

Dates:

Public Hearing #1, April 28, 2021, at 1:30 p.m.
Live video via webcast: http://www.adminmonitor.com/ca/cpuc/hearing/20210428/
Toll-free phone number: 1-800-857-1917; code: 7218384#
Spanish language toll-free phone number: 800-857-1917; code: 8147204#

Public Hearing #2, April 29, 2021, at 6:30 p.m.
Live video via webcast: http://www.adminmonitor.com/ca/cpuc/hearing/20210429/
Toll-free phone number: 1-800-857-1917; code: 7218384#
Spanish language toll-free phone number: 800-857-1917; code: 8147204#

 

SUBMITTING WRITTEN COMMENTS AND ANONYMITY

Interested participants may submit comments at any time as follows:

  • Online form via the CPUC Docket Card: www.cpuc.ca.gov/R2010002Comments
  • Email: Public.Advisor@cpuc.ca.gov (reference Rulemaking R.20-10-002)
  • U.S. Mail: CPUC Public Advisor’s Office, 505 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, CA 94102 (reference Rulemaking R.20-10-002)
  • To offer anonymity, it is not necessary to provide contact information, but please note that if you do, it will be publicly accessible.

ANONYMITY OF CALLERS

The CPUC is taking steps to ensure the anonymity and prioritization of incarcerated persons providing verbal comment during the public forums:

  • Incarcerated persons will be moved to the front of the queue on the phone line to make comment.
  • Callers are not required to provide or record names or locations at any point during their call.
  • Each caller will be assigned a “port number,” which will be read in lieu of the caller’s name to signal his or her turn to speak.

 

Contact the California Public Utilities Commission

Please visit cpuc.ca.gov/R2010002Comments to submit a public comment about this rulemaking to the CPUC. You may also mail written comments to the CPUC’s Public Advisor’s address below. For more information on participating in the public hearing, submitting comments, to request special assistance, or to request a non-English or Spanish language interpreter, please contact the CPUC’s Public Advisor’s Office at least five days prior to the hearings.

CPUC Public Advisor’s Office
505 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone: 1-866-849-8390 (toll-free) or 1-415-703-2074
Email: Public.Advisor@cpuc.ca.gov

Please reference Rulemaking R.20-10-002 in any communications you have with the CPUC regarding this matter.

 

Links

Rulemaking

Public Hearings Ruling

Proceeding Documents

 


Immigration Guide