Reduce the Cost of Calls and Commissary in CA County Jails and Juvenile Facilities!

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California's current system allows sheriff and probation departments to profit off of the use of phone calls and video communication, and the sale of commissary items in county jails and juvenile facilities. These are human needs that the families of incarcerated people, especially women of color, pay for. The California legislature has an opportunity to stop private companies and their local jail partners from profiting off the backs of incarcerated people and their loved ones. Tell your  California Assemblymember to pass Senate Bill 555, the JailFACTS (Fair Access for Connections to Support) Act!

Authored by Senator Holly Mitchell (D - Los Angeles), Senate Bill 555 will lower the cost of  communication and commissary in jails and juvenile facilities and prevent sheriffs from using incarcerated people and their support systems as a source of funding. 

The ability to maintain connection with loved ones when incarcerated is currently based on a person’s wealth. Often people can only afford a single phone call home per week or even per month; some cannot afford to make calls at all. In addition to reducing trauma during incarceration, maintaining relationships with family and community improves reentry and reduces recidivism. And the cost of  communication and commissary items is inconsistent in county jails and juvenile facilities across the state. For example, a 15-minute call can range from $0.68 in San Mateo County to $17.80 in Lassen County.

 Right now, any money sheriff departments make from communications and commissary must go into an Inmate Welfare Fund (IWF), designed to support incarcerated people. However, sheriffs have routinely used loopholes to spend IWF money on items like body armor and surveillance cameras and transport vans. If a sheriff department has an alternative revenue source for its IWF, this bill closes those loopholes so IWF money is only used on things that directly help incarcerated people.

 With Senate Bill 555, California has an opportunity to increase access between incarcerated people and their loved onesand help ensure successful re-entry by allowing for community support. Sign today to tell your legislators to support Senate Bill 555! 


JailFACTS team

Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights

Children’s Defense Fund-CA

TransLatin@ Coalition

Young Women’s Freedom Center

Friend’s Committee on Legislation

Worth Rises

Time for Change Foundation