News

New York becomes 1st major city to offer free jail calls

Posted: Updated:
NEW YORK -

New York is becoming the first major city in the U.S. to offer free phone calls from jails.

According to the New York Times, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a bill into law Monday.

It takes effect in nine months.

Local calls from Rikers Island currently cost 50 cents for the first minute and 5 cents for each additional minute.

About three quarters of people in the city's jails have not been convicted of a crime and are there awaiting trial. Many are poor.

The move is part of a nationwide push from prison-rights groups, public defenders and prisoners' families to limit private companies from profiting off incarceration.

The president of the correction officers' union says free phone calls could aid gangs that run operations from inside the jails.

AP wire services helped contribute to this report.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."