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Prison phones and private equity profits

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File

A federal appeals court has ruled against the FCC's proposed caps on intrastate rates on inmate phone calls, arguing that the federal agency overstepped its bounds.

This is a market dominated by private equity-backed companies, which have argued that the often-outrageous fees they charge ($8.20 for the first minute, in one case) are caused by the commissions they are required to pay many local and state governments to get the contracts in the first place (even though the companies partnered with those same government entities on their lawsuit).