CURE challenges phone rules
United for the Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE) leads the campaign
to challenge new federal BOP rules restricting phone use for
prisoners. Kay Perry, Director of the eTc (Equitable Telephone
Charges) Campaign has called the new policy of the Federal Bureau
of Prisons to restrict inmate calls "a gigantic step backwards
from the Bush Administration's (alleged) pro-family initiative."
The eTc Campaign is a national effort by a coalition of a dozen
organizations to lower the cost of prisoner-initiated telephone
calls. Since its beginning two years ago, there has been movement
toward reduction in most states.
"President Bush has called for special help for children
of prisoners," Perry commented. "Then, the Federal
Bureau of Prisons, his prison system, discourages parental involvement.
Perhaps this new rule will be canceled once the President realizes
how counter-productive it is to his agenda."
Effective April 2, 2001, inmates are limited to 300 minutes per
month. According to a BOP 'Memorandum For Inmate Population',
"This limitation is needed to maintain the security and
good order...and provides adequate opportunity for inmates to
maintain community ties, in conjunction with visiting and written
"Although at first 300 minutes a month sounds like a lot
of time on the phone," Perry wrote in a recent CURE press
release, "It is not a lot when you are trying to help your
child with his or her homework or hear about what is happening
at school. 300 Minutes a month is ten minutes a day. How can
a child continue a relationship with a mother or father when
they only talk for ten minutes a day?"
"Certainly visiting and written correspondence are very
important to sustaining parent/child bonding," Perry elaborated,
"but they are not a substitute for the 'how was your day
and I am here to help' daily phone call.
Many credible observers write that as a parent, many things are
required of you-practical skills, understanding and resourcefulness.
You are the key person...at the heart of the process. Loving,
alert, healthy children don't just happen. The seed is there...but
these things need to be drawn out, nurtured, and taught'."
"Statistics show that children of incarcerated parents end
up disproportionately in prison," Perry concluded. "This
is one of the reasons why President Bush has expressed pro-family
interest in the issue and why society is moving in the direction
of family-friendly inmate phone policies. This new rule by the
Federal Bureau of Prisons goes in the exact opposite direction!"
Write, OR fax Kathleen Hawk Sawyer, BOP Director 320 First St.
NW - Washington DC 20534 - 202-307-3250 - Fax 202-514-6878
Breaking News May 1, 2001
On April 26th, CURE met with the BOP for 70 minutes on their
new 300-minute limitation policy. Dr. Kathleen Hawk Sawyer, Director,
and three of her staff met with us. Beside Charlie Sullivan,
there were Pauline Sullivan, Fred Mosely and one of CURE's pro
bono attorneys on the inmate phone issue. Also, Elizabeth Alexander,
Director of the ACLU's National Prison Project, and the Director
of the D.C. Prisoner's Legal Services.
Fred Mosely, Director of CURE's Federal Chapter, opened the meeting
with a very emotional and eloquent presentation on how unlimited
phone calls impacted his family when he was a prisoner in the
BOP. This was followed by an "everything on the table"
exchange that we thought made our case for at least a waiver
for family members from the 300 minute limitation. Dr. Sawyer,
however, kept coming back to the Office of Inspector General's
PRESENT review of the remedies that have been implemented to
stop the abuses. She seemed open to the waiver if the present
OIG review showed that the abuses have been stopped. Nonethless,
she was firm on keeping this 300-minute limit for the unknown
duration of the OIG Review that could take 18 months. By then,
we feel strongly the 300-minute limit will be "written in
P.S. What really came through during the meeting was the impact
of what you are doing by contacting your members of Congress.
I CANNOT OVERSTATE HOW MUCH YOU SHOULD CONTINUE THIS POLITICAL
PRESSURE! The U.S. Capitol Switchboard's general numbers are
202-224-3121 or 225-3121. To write your two Senators, the address
is U.S. Senate, Washington, DC 20510. To write your Representative,
the address is U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC