New phone restrictions in federal prison

300 minutes per month

Federal prisoners were notified on February 27th that, as of April 1, 2001, phone calls will be limited to 300 minutes per month.

Overcrowded, the Federal Bureau of Prisons must house prisoners far from their homes. Visits are expensive and usually infrequent. For many of us, a phone call is the only consistent, personal contact we have with our imprisoned loved ones. For small children, hearing mommy or daddy's voice is much more satisfying than reading them a letter, though letters are part of our family relationships, too.

We are mounting a campaign to stop this restriction. Regional Leaders are researching what can be done, and to whom we direct correspondence and phone calls to.

Please write:
Correctional Programs Division Office
Federal Bureau of Prisons
320 First Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20534
Phone: 202-307-3226

The phone number to Public Affairs is: 202-514-6537; the address the same as above. We apologize that we cannot give you a name to direct your letters to, but each time we call various offices of the BOP, we are told that our letters should be directed elsewhere.

Write a letter to the Correctional Programs Division Office, explaining that family relationships will further deteriorate if contact with our loved ones are restricted to 300 minutes a month. You know your personal family situation, please relate your personal concerns to the BOP.

You may want to remind them that pursuant to Washington v. Reno, 35 F.3d 1093, 1994, The Supreme Count has recognized that "prison walls do not form a barrier separating prison inmates from the protections of the Constitution," Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. [78] at 84 [107S.Ct.2254, 96L.Ed.2d 64 (1987)]. . ., nor do they bar free citizens from exercising their own constitutional rights by reaching out to those on the 'inside," in fact, federal court opinions have previously held that persons incarcerated in penal institutions retain their First Amendment rights to communicate with family and friends, Morgan v. LaVallee, 526 F.2d 221.225 (2dCir.1975), and have recognized that "there is no legitimate governmental purpose to be attained by not allowing reasonable access to the telephone, and . . . such use is protected by the First Amendment." Johnson v. Galli, 596 F.Supp. 135. 138 (D.Nev.1984).

Also, pursuant to Policy Statement 5264.06, Program Objectives. The expected results of this program are:
a. All inmates will be afforded the opportunity to maintain family and communities ties.
e. Bureau telephone policy and procedures will comply with the terms of a settlement approved by the U.S. District Court in a nationwide federal prisoner class action, Washington v. Reno, Nos. 93-217, 93-290 (E.D.K.Y.)

Finally, pursuant to 12 Institution Supplement, (c) of Policy Statement 5264.06 states "the maximum length of telephone calls is ordinarily 15 minutes."

Be respectful, but firm and resolved to address this matter diligently. Visit our website at for updates or email

We will update this situation in the next issue.