FCC Approves Changes to Carceral Communications

(by Jackson McNeal, Colorado Law 2L)

On September 29th, the FCC approved a Report and Order making substantive changes that improve access to relay services eligible for funding through the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) for incarcerated people with disabilities, while also seeking comment on further reforms to expand the provision of communications services for incarcerated people with disabilities.

This item was the result of more than a decade of advocacy by HEARD, a grassroots organization supporting incarcerated people with disabilities and their families. The TLPC was proud to support HEARD’s efforts through collaboration with our client, Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc. (TDI), and a large coalition of organizations including the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), and the Gallaudet University Technology Access Program (TAP). The TLPC, led by the efforts of former clinic student attorneys Brandon Ward, Caitlin League, Michael Obregon, Cameron Benavides, Dakotah Hamilton, Rachel Hersch, Garrett Janney, Samuel Retter, and current clinic student attorneys Jackson McNeal and Sean Harms, is grateful to have had the opportunity to work alongside these organizations to advance communications access for incarcerated people with disabilities. Representative filings include: