San Francisco Moves To Stop Profiting Off of The Incarcerated: "Phone Calls from Jails Now Free"

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Contact: Mayor's Office of Communications,  mayorspressoffice@sfgov.org

SAN FRANCISCO ANNOUNCES ALL PHONE CALLS FROM COUNTY JAILS ARE NOW FREE

San Francisco has become the first county in the nation to stop generating revenue from incarcerated people and their families, lifting an economic burden from low-income communities, boosting connection to support networks, and easing re-entry

Mayor London N. Breed, Sheriff Paul Miyamoto, and Treasurer José Cisneros announced that all phone calls from county jails are now free, effective today. San Francisco County is the first in the country to permanently stop generating revenue from incarcerated people and their families through phone calls, commissary markups, or other services. In providing free phone calls, the Sheriff's Office negotiated a first-in-the-nation fixed rate contract with GTL, a jail phone service contractor, to ensure the lowest possible cost to the City and taxpayers.

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"When people are in jail they need to be able to stay connected with their family without being concerned about how much it will cost them or their loved ones. Being able to stay in touch with family is always important, but it is even more critical during a health emergency like COVID-19," said Mayor Breed. "This change is an important continuation of our efforts to reform fines and fees that disproportionately impact low-income people and communities of color. This has truly been a team effort, and I want to thank everyone who contributed to this work for their dedication and advocacy."

"I am grateful to my staff who worked tirelessly over the last year to advance high-impact justice reform. They created a contract that serves both the needs of in-custody people while delivering the best taxpayer return on investment," said Sheriff Miyamoto. "Our contract is quickly becoming a model for other jurisdictions. We would not have been able achieve this as well as other financial justice reforms without the support and commitment from Mayor Breed, Treasurer Cisneros, Supervisor Fewer and her colleagues, and the criminal justice community."

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"I am thrilled to see free phone calls being implemented in SF jails, and know that this will have a tangible impact on the lives of incarcerated people and their loved ones," said Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer. "This new contract again puts our city on the map as leading policy change in the name of economic justice—and where San Francisco leads, the nation will follow."

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