“Phones are a lifeline in prison. I have depended on prison calls my entire life, first as a child with my father behind bars, and then as a parent behind bars. The costs of calls should never separate families. We must make calls free.”

- Martin Garcia

As a coalition we fight to connect families by making phone calls free for incarcerated people and their loved ones.

Phone calls are a lifeline for incarcerated people and their families. We are fighting for legislation that would end the extraction of wealth from families – disproportionately Black, Brown, and Indigenous and low income – by making phone calls free for all incarcerated people in New York.

1 in 3 families go into debt to stay connected to their incarcerated loved one.

Over 50 percent of families struggle to meet their own household needs while a loved one is incarcerated. This often means that families are required to make unfathomable choices about whether to answer the phone to speak to an incarcerated loved one or buy groceries.

woman with image of wrongfully incarcerated man
Incarcerated Man and Daughter at birthday party

87 percent of the costs of staying in touch are borne by women.

The stress of limited phone calls and exploitation of families is felt most acutely by Black and Latinx communities, who are disproportionately impacted by targeted over-policing, racist sentencing matrices, and mass criminalization.

A call from an NY jail can cost $9.95 for 15 minutes.

A call from a NY jail can cost $9.95 for 15 minutes. Some counties receive site commissions, or a percentage of the profit made from calls, which incentivizes sheriffs to sign inflated telecoms contracts.

Hand in fence

“Family connection is crucial. When my parents moved out of state, calls became even more important. It is time we alleviate this added burden on families struggling to stay connected to their incarcerated loved ones.”


Listen to incarcerated New Yorkers talk about why Connecting Families New York is so important to their lives.

Alfred talks about how COVID-19 necessitates access to free phone calls.
Juan discusses how the economic crisis makes it hard to stay in touch with family while incarcerated.
Adrienne worries about her mother’s health and not being able to reach her.

Add Your Voice

Interested in recording a 30-second video sharing your story about how important free phone calls would be for your family?

We’ll use these videos on social media to educate the public and put pressure on these elected officials! 


Click the images below to view or download our fact sheet and sign-on letter.

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