We joined our partners at Black Leaders Organizing for Communities (BLOC) to testify at the 2024 Milwaukee County Budget public hearing in support of families staying connected by demanding that all phone and video calls within the Milwaukee County Jail and the Community Reintegration Center be free.

As documented in the October 2023 report, “Still Not Free When They Come Home: How Wisconsin’s Criminal Legal System Harms Democracy and the Black Community on Milwaukee’s North Side,” released by BLOC and the Center for Popular Democracy:

“Financial stress on family members is not only from the loss of income from the incarcerated person but also increased costs, such as exorbitant costs for phone calls and transportation costs for visits.”

A key recommendation included in the report is to “support contact between people who are incarcerated and their loved ones by providing free phone calls and transportation for in-person visits and creating an environment suitable for children to see their parents.”

We thank Milwaukee County Executive Crowley and Board of Supervisors for keeping families connected in the 2024 budget!

By reducing phone call revenue from the Milwaukee County Jail and Community Integration Center, this budget will provide those incarcerated in county facilities with 360 free minutes per month for phone calls and 60 free video visitation minutes per month, offering significant relief for families impacted by incarceration.