Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter VII-A. Fair Phone Charges for Prisoners.


§ 24–263.01. Telephone charges in penal or correctional institutions.

(a) Notwithstanding any other District of Columbia law, no telephone service provider shall charge a customer a rate for operator-assisted calls made from a penal or correctional institution in the District of Columbia in excess of the maximum rate determined by the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia.

(b) No penal or correctional institution in the District of Columbia shall charge a surcharge, commission, or other financial imposition that is in addition to legally established rates for local or long-distance telephone service.


(Apr. 27, 2001, D.C. Law 13-280, § 2, 48 DCR 1885.)


§ 24–263.02. Prohibited charges in government contracts.

In any contract to which the District of Columbia is a party that is for the holding or incarceration of persons charged or convicted in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, such contract shall prohibit surcharges, commissions, or other financial impositions that are in addition to the legally established rates for calls made by any inmate subject to the contract. The District of Columbia government shall seek to obtain quality service for the least cost to the individual party paying for the telephone call by an inmate subject to the contract.


(Apr. 27, 2001, D.C. Law 13-280, § 3, 48 DCR 1885.)


§ 24–263.03. Department of Corrections report.

(a) The Department of Corrections (“Department”) shall survey the communications plans used by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and all state prison systems. The Department shall explore additional alternative communication plans with telecommunications companies. The explored alternatives shall include prison commissary phone accounts, restricted calling cards, presenting calling cards, and debit calling cards.

(b) No later than 180 days after April 27, 2001, the Department shall report to the Council and the Mayor the results of the survey and the exploration of alternatives. The report shall include the merits and disadvantages of each communication plan examined, including consideration of the security needs of the Department, the financial burden to the families and other individuals telephoned, the availability of telecommunications to the inmates, the feasibility of waiving the gross receipts tax, and other incentives to control the cost of inmate phone service. The report shall include a recommendation for an inmate telephone service.


(Apr. 27, 2001, D.C. Law 13-280, § 4, 48 DCR 1885.)


§ 24–263.04. Operator-assisted calls.

The Public Service Commission shall determine the maximum rate for operator-assisted calls made from phones utilized by inmates of a penal or correctional institution in the District of Columbia.


(Apr. 27, 2001, D.C. Law 13-280, § 5, 48 DCR 1885.)