Protestors Target Excessive Phone Rates for Immigrant Detainees

May. 15, 2013 / By



Richmond Pulse/New America Media, News Report, Peter Schurmann and Donny Lumpkins

RICHMOND, Calif. – At the West County Detention Facility, inmates can pay upwards of $20 for a five-minute phone call to friends, relatives or lawyers. While the high rates are a cash cow for the prison, for detainees they have become a major hurdle to staying in touch with the outside.

For immigrant detainees and their families, the high phone rates can lead to total isolation.

“$50 gets about 15 minutes of actual talk time,” said Roberto dela Rosa, whose mother is currently being held at WCDF. Dela Rosa noted that with repeated dropped calls and reconnection fees, the cost of a single conversation rivals a single families’ monthly phone bill.

Dela Rosa was among a group of some 40 activists, former inmates and family members who gathered last Friday outside the prison, located about 30 miles east of San Francisco. Representing a cross-section of local civic, religious and legal organizations, protestors carried signs that read, “Detained mothers have the right to call home.”

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