As someone who served a number of short jail sentences for nonviolent civil disobedience, I was pleased to see the Globe editorialize against predatory phone charges for inmates (“Phone rates for inmates exploitative, counterproductive”). Prisoners are grossly overcharged, not only for phone calls but for shoddy sneakers and other items.
While incarcerated in Georgia, I could only send letters in small envelopes that were sold for 25 cents each. I offered to donate a pallet of envelopes if the jail would not sell them for more than a nickel. The warden declined my offer, but lowered the cost to a dime.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky said it best: “The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.”
The writer is a member of the Saints Francis and Therese Catholic Worker community.