5/10: Mother’s Day Action at West County Detention Facility

For Immediate Release

May 7, 2013

Contact:Rev.Deborah Lee 415-297-8222, dlee@clueca.org


Mother’s Day Action Affirms Immigrant Moms’ Right to Call Home:

Groups expose high cost of phone calls in Contra Costa County 

WHEN:  Friday, May 10th, 2013, 10:30 am – 11:30 am

WHAT:  Press Conference to shed light on exorbitant cost of phone calls to immigrant mothers detained in immigration detention facilities, creating an inhumane barrier to contacting children, loved ones and attorneys

WHERE: West County Detention Facility, 5555 Giant Highway, Richmond, CA 94806

WHO:   Mothers, family members, faith leaders and attorneys offering testimony. Community leaders from the WCDF Immigration Detention Support Coalition, including the East Bay Interfaith Immigration Coalition, Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC),Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice (East Bay), the Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights (CLUE), Unitarian Churches of Walnut Creek, Kensington and Oakland and other community groups.


On May 10th, two days before Mother’s Day, a coalition of faith, community and legal organizations will hold a press conference in front of the West County Detention Facility (WCDF)  to draw attention to data just released on the exorbitant cost of phone calls for inmates including juveniles and immigrants jailed at WCDF and other county facilities. For immigrant mothers in detention, the high cost of phone calls creates an inhumane barrier to contacting their children, loved ones and attorneys. Lack of access to a phone call because of the high cost has meant some immigrant mothers in deportation proceedings lose custody of their children because they are unable to communicate with their lawyer or state agencies.

The groups, sponsoring the press conference, recently obtained information from a California Public Record Act request revealing phone call rates for juvenile hall and three county jails in Contra Costa County, including WCDF, which contracts with ICE to detain immigrants. Phone calls for detained mothers, youth and other prisoners, cost $3.25 for the first minute and an additional .25¢ per minute for all calls within California, and $3.55 for the first minute and an additional .55¢ per minute for all calls to a state outside CA.

Records also revealed that Contra Costa County receives a 57% commission rate and last year netted over half a million dollars in commission payments alone from Global Tel Link, the company providing the phone service, whose contract expires next month, June 2013.

“Immigrants who are detained have very few rights and they become a captive market through their imprisonment,” says Christina Mansfield, a community advocate. “The high cost of phone calls create additional and unnecessary suffering for families, and privileges profit over the right of families to remain in contact.”

The group seeks a fair and open process for Contra Costa County to negotiate a new contract that would comply with ICE standards to contract with the lowest cost provider.

This action is in alliance with the national Campaign for Phone Justice for Immigrants in Detention led by CIVIC.  It is also a part of a national Mother’s Day action led by the national Campaign for Prison Phone Justice.

See Fact Sheet here.