Petition Filed with the Board of Public Utilities

Today, a group of formerly incarcerated New Jersey residents, their families, and community organizations join together to file a petition with the state Board of Public Utilities (BPU), asking the Board to lower the cost of phone calls from prisons, jails, and other correctional facilities in New Jersey. The petition comes in the wake of a Federal Communication Commission (FCC) rule, implemented in February 2014, which caps the cost of out-of-state calls from correctional facilities but leaves in-state calls unregulated. The petition argues that “high phone rates lead to numerous negative effects for vulnerable families across the state,” and asks the BPU to ensure that phone companies cannot unfairly profit off people in New Jersey.

The final petition is available here, and the supporting documents are available here.

A press release is available here.


NJ Phone Justice Coalition Press Conference, Wed Apr 30th, 1pm, State House

Press Conference Calling on the BPU to Lower Prison Phone Rates
Community Groups File Formal Petition with Board of Public Utilities

WHO: New Jersey Phone Justice Coalition

Alix Nguefack, Detention Project Coordinator, American Friends Service Committee
Papa Faye, Recently Released from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Custody at Bergen County Jail
Cornell Brooks, President and CEO, New Jersey Institute for Social Justice
Jean Ross, Attorney and Petitioner to the Board of Public Utilities
Rev. Craig Hirshberg, Executive Director, Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of New Jersey
Alex Shalom, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU of New Jersey
WHEN: Wednesday, April 30, 1 pm
WHERE: Steps of the New Jersey Statehouse, Trenton, NJ
WHAT: A group of petitioners including community organizations, family members of incarcerated people, former immigrant detainees, and attorneys will announce the filing of a petition to the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) asking it to limit the cost of calls from New Jersey correctional facilities. The speakers will describe the impact of high phone rates on New Jersey families and call on the BPU to end phone companies’ exploitation of our most vulnerable community members.
CONTACT: Karina Wilkinson, New Jersey Advocates for Immigrant Detainees, (732) 491-3530
Scott Welfel, New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, (973) 624-9400 ext. 20


Rally & Press Conference for NJ Phone Justice! Join us in Trenton on April 30th at 1pm

Join us for a press conference & rally as we demand justice for vulnerable families burdened by the high cost of phone calls in New Jersey’s prisons and jails. We will be marking the historic filing of a NJ phone justice petition and calling upon the state to take action.  The press conference & rally will take place at 1:00pm on Wednesday, April 30, 2014, on the steps of the New Jersey Statehouse (125 W. State St, Trenton, NJ 08608). 

For more information and/or to let us know that you’ll be there, please contact us at [email protected] or [email protected].

See you in Trenton!