Set of three Prison pay phones

Massachusetts becomes fifth state in nation to make prison calls free (GBH)

Below is an excerpt from an article published by GBH on November 17 highlighting the signing of a Massachusetts bill that makes prison and jail calls free. Prisoners Legal Services’ Bonnie Tenneriello is quoted. 

Massachusetts this week became the fifth state in the nation to make prison and jail calls free.

Gov. Maura Healey signed the bill into law on Wednesday that will go into effect Dec. 1 of this year. The move is a victory for advocates and legislators who have sought to lessen the burden on prisoners communicating for years — and through many legislative sessions.

“Ensuring that individuals in state and county prisons can keep in contact with their loved ones is key to enhancing rehabilitation, reducing recidivism, and improving community safety,” Healey said in a written statement. “I’m proud to sign this important legislation and grateful to the Legislature and advocates for their partnership.”

State Sen. Cindy Creem and state Rep. Chynah Tyler were the lead sponsors of the legislation.

In July, the Legislature passed a state budget that included a requirement for corrections officials to make phone calls free for incarcerated people, but Healey pushed back to give more time to implement the program. This week’s legislation also makes video and emails free.

Read more at GBH.