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Making Phone Calls from Prison is Now FREE in Massachusetts | VIDEO

*(CNN) — Massachusetts has now become the fifth state in the US to allow inmates to make phone calls for free, thanks to a new bill signed into law by Governor Maura Healey.

The new law went into effect on Friday and includes all 14 correctional facilities in the state, according to a news release from the Massachusetts Department of Correction.

The change will “provide equitable access to sustained communication between incarcerated individuals and their loved ones,” says the news release. There is no limit to the number of calls each inmate can make, according to the release.

“The Massachusetts Department of Correction recognizes the importance of incarcerated individuals maintaining bonds with their loved ones,” said the Department of Correction commissioner Carol Mici in the release. “No-cost calls will alleviate the financial burden and remove barriers for an individual in MA DOC custody to stay connected with their outside support system. Strong family support helps to advance the rehabilitative process, reduces recidivism, and contributes to successful reentry upon release.”

Inmate on prison phone / Alamy
Inmate on prison phone / Alamy

Governor Healey signed the bill into law in November, according to a news release from the National Consumer Law Center.

The nonprofit, which specializes in consumer issues on behalf of low-income people, described the law as “powerful precedent that other states are urged to follow.”

“For years, prison phone companies have profited off the backs of some of the most economically vulnerable families in Massachusetts,” said Caroline Cohn, Equal Justice Works Fellow at the center, in the release. “We commend Massachusetts for joining the growing list of states that no longer force their residents to choose between paying the rent or speaking with their incarcerated loved ones.”

In 2019, New York became the first major city to offer inmates free calls from jail. Connecticut became the first state to make phone calls free for inmates in 2021.

Nonprofits and advocacy groups have called attention to the high cost of prison calls, which could be as much as $14 a minute before the Federal Communications Commission ruled on a price cap in 2015.

MORE NEWS ON EURWEB: Illinois Appeals Court Upholds Jussie Smollett’s Convictions for 2019 Hate Crime Hoax – Is He Headed Back to Jail? | WATCH

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