“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, New York, Father of 3

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

We’re fighting to end a million-dollar industry. 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.

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

Women bear 87 percent of the costs related to staying in touch with incarcerated family members.

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 $10.42 for 15 minutes.

To make matters worse some counties receive financial benefits from prison phone companies for charging such inflated prices. This means that county officials, namely sheriffs, are incentives to sign inflated telecom contracts that strategically exploit Black and Latinx communities.

Hand in fence

“Family connection is crucial. When my parents were moved out of state by the DOC, calls became important because visits were harder to do. 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’ work to make phone calls free in all prisons and jails 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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