ICS Advocates - Ex Parte Submission to FCC re #Solutions2020, 2017
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Lee G. Petro 202-230-5857 Direct 202-842-8465 Fax Lee.Petro@dbr.com Law Offices 1500 K Street N. W. Suite 1100 Washington, D.C. 20005-1209 (202) 842-8800 (202) 842-8465 fax www.drinkerbiddle.com CALIFORNIA DELAWARE ILLINOIS NEW JERSEY NEW YORK PENNSYLVANIA WASHINGTON D.C. WISCONSIN January 13, 2017 By ECFS Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary Federal Communications Commission 445 12th Street, S.W. Washington, DC 20554 RE: Dear Ms. Dortch: Ex Parte Submission - WC Docket 12-375 & GN Docket 13-111 Pursuant to Section 1.1206(b) of the Commission’s rules, the Wright Petitioners, Prison Policy Initiative, New Jersey Advocates for Immigrant Detainees and United Church of Christ, OC Inc. (collectively, the "ICS Advocates"), hereby submit this Ex Parte Notice regarding the aforementioned parties' submission of Comments on the Draft #Solutions2020 Action Plan on January 11, 2017. 1 Pursuant to the Notice, a copy of the ICS Advocates' Comments is being submitted in the dockets of the above-referenced open proceedings. As provided in the Comments, the ICS Advocates expressed their deep appreciation for Commissioner Mignon Clyburn's dedication to protect American consumers, and in particular, inmates and their families. While the Notice sought comment on the draft Action Plan covering a number of different issues, the ICS Advocates focused solely on those issues that impact inmates and their families. In particular, the ICS Advocates presented a "snapshot" of intrastate ICS rates charged by six ICS providers, which was gathered by undersigned counsel for the Wright Petitioners, and the staff of the Prison Policy Initiative, over a period of three weeks in late 2016. Due to the efforts of ICS providers and correctional facilities, the rate caps on intrastate ICS that were adopted in 2015, and adjusted in 2016, have been stayed in federal court, and the "snapshot" was intended to highlight the current ICS landscape. 2 The most significant discovery made from reviewing the current pricing policies of the ICS providers was that several ICS providers have imposed a rate structure for intrastate ICS calls that bear a remarkable similarity to the now-prohibited "connection fee" which was prohibited in the 2015 Second Report and Order, and memorialized in Section 64.6080 of the Commission's rules. 3 Established 1849 1 See #Solutions2020 Call to Action Plan, Public Notice # 342689 (rel. Dec. 19, 2016) (the "Notice"). 3 See 47 C.F.R. §64.6080 (2016). This rule was not stayed by the DC Circuit. See Rates for Interstate Inmate Calling Services, Second Report and Order, 30 FCC Rcd 12,763 (2015), aff'd mem., Order on Reconsideration, 31 FCC Rcd 9,300 (2016). See also Securus Technologies Inc. v. FCC, No. 16-1321 (D.C. Cir. Nov. 2, 2016). 2 Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary January 13, 2017 Page 2 For example, Securus Technologies charges the following rates for intrastate ICS calls from county facilities, whereas a 15-minute ICS call from that facility to any other state in the United States would cost $3.15: State MI WI TX KS AR 1st Min. Add. Min 15 Min. 15 Min. Charge ($) Charge ($) Rate ($) Interstate Call ($) Sanilac County Jail 3.15 8.20 0.01 8.34 Iron County Sheriff 5.80 0.95 19.10 3.15 Oldham County Jail 5.76 0.41 11.50 3.15 Ford County Jail 5.50 0.83 17.12 3.15 Arkansas County Jail 5.35 1.40 24.95 3.15 Facility Global Tel*Link has followed the similar practice of charging substantially higher 1st minute rates than for any subsequent minute for county jails: State OR AR VA WI MI 1st Min. Add. Min 15 Min. 15 Min. Charge ($) Charge ($) Rate ($) Interstate Call ($) Douglas County 3.15 5.31 0.89 17.77 Jefferson County 3.15 4.64 0.69 14.30 Culpeper County 3.15 4.64 0.69 14.30 Clark County Jail 3.15 4.64 0.69 14.30 Monroe County 3.15 4.60 0.65 13.70 Facility Finally, Legacy Inmate Communications, a company that has admitted that it failed to participate in the 2014 Mandatory Data Collection, violates both the letter and spirit of Section 64.6080 by charging a per-call connection fee, and also by following the same rate structure as Securus and GTL, for county and local facilities: State TX MA NJ CA NY 1st Min. Add. Min 15 Min. Charge ($) Charge ($) Rate ($) Sommerville County Jail 13.56 1.15 30.81 Everett Police Department 11.99 1.29 31.34 Lindenwold Police Department 11.99 1.29 31.34 Yolo County Sheriff 9.50 1.49 31.85 Lancaster Police Department 9.66 0.89 23.01 Facility 15 Min. Interstate Call ($) 3.15 3.15 3.15 3.15 3.15 Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary January 13, 2017 Page 3 The ICS Advocates also supplied information relating to serious questions regarding the efficacy of Managed Access Systems, and the impact that these costly systems could have on inmates and their families if ICS rates and fees are increased to permit ICS providers to recover their investments. The ICS Advocates noted that there is overwhelming evidence that a substantial share of contraband cellphones are used by inmates seeking to avoid paying unjust, unreasonable and unfair ICS rates and fees. As such, while the ICS Advocates acknowledged that there is the potential for serious harm arising from contraband cellphones, the Commission should ensure that ICS consumers are not left footing the bill for these costly systems (which can cost more than $1 million/facility) without first requiring that correctional authorities take reasonable, substantially-less costly steps to stop the flow of contraband cellphones into correctional facilities. Should you have any questions regarding these matters, please contact undersigned counsel. Respectfully submitted, Lee G. Petro Counsel for the Wright Petitioners cc (by/email): Chairman Thomas Wheeler Commissioner Mignon Clyburn Commissioner Ajit Pai Commissioner Michael O’Rielly Howard J. Symons, General Counsel Travis LeBlanc, Chief, Enforcement Bureau Matthew S. DelNero, Chief, Wireline Competition Bureau Ruth Milkman, Chief of Staff for Chairman Thomas Wheeler Lisa Hone, Legal Advisor to Chairman Thomas Wheeler Claude Aiken, Legal Advisor to Commissioner Clyburn Nicholas Degani, Legal Advisor to Commissioner Pai Brendan Carr, Legal Advisor to Commissioner Pai Amy Bender, Legal Advisor to Commissioner O'Rielly Erin McGrath, Legal Advisor to Commissioner O'Reilly Madeleine Findley, Deputy Bureau Chief, Wireline Competition Bureau Pamela Arluk, Chief, Pricing Policy Division, Wireline Competition Bureau Gil Strobel, Deputy Division Chief, Pricing Policy Division, Wireline Competition Bureau