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Aug 9, 2013 11:58 AM by Eric Ross

FCC votes to cap, slash prison phone rates

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Federal Communications Commission has approved limits on rates that prison inmates pay to make phone calls.

The FCC voted 2-1 Friday -- a decade after inmates' families asked for action.

The vote caps interstate phone call rates at 21 cents a minute for debit or prepaid calls and 25 cents a minute for collect calls. Companies must get a waiver to charge more.

The FCC has said phone charges range from 50 cents to nearly $4 to make a call, plus per-minute rates ranging from 5 cents to 89 cents.

Phone service providers and some government officials say the money helps pay for security, activities for inmates and general telephone infrastructure.

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