High Prison Phone Rates and Hate Speech at the Top of the Agenda for Advocate Groups at National Latino Congreso


This weekend, at the National Latino Congreso, a national policy summit of localized and national Latino leaders, Latinos for Internet Freedom (LIF) introduced two resolutions, which were passed by unanimous vote.  One focused on the high cost of phone calls from prison and immigrant detention centers.  The second resolution called for a push to eliminate anti-Latino hate speech in the media. These resolutions aim to tackle head on two major problems facing Latino communities across the United States.

The Center for Media Justice, on behalf of its “Right to Call Home Campaign”, drafted a resolution urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Congress and state legislatures across the country to stop the corporate abuse of Latino consumers and end the high cost of prison and detention-based phone calls. Up to 60% of the cost of prison phone calls go towards kickbacks, or a commission of the prison phone provider.  In many states a 15-minute phone call can cost up to $18.

“Despite making up 16% of the country's population, Latinos represent 35% of the prison population and the majority of private detention centers,” says Steven Renderos, National Organizer at the Center for Media Justice.  “With such a disparity, it follows that the inexplicably high cost of phone calls from prisons and private detention centers would disproportionately impact the Latino community. Combine the high cost of these calls with the fact that over one in five Latinos lives below the poverty line, and the result is that you have fractured communities breaking under the burden of paying to boost the bottom lines of telecom corporations.”

National Hispanic Media Coalition drafted a resolution calling on participants of the National Latino Congreso to boycott companies and advertisers that underwrite media programs with anti-Latino hate rhetoric. With hate crimes against Latinos on the rise in recent years, NHMC has been leading a campaign against hate speech and companies that choose to advertise on shows that provide a platform for inflammatory rhetoric.

“Corporations that want to tap into the $1 trillion U S Latino market must be responsible advertisers.  We are pleased that the National Latino Congreso resolved to patronize corporations that take a stand against anti-Latino hate rhetoric, and boycott businesses that continue supporting anti-Latino hate rhetoric, says Inez Gonzalez, Executive Vice President at the National Hispanic Media Coalition. “When it comes to anti-Latino hate speech, you are either with the Latino community or against it.”


Latinos for Internet Freedom is a coalition of local, regional and national Latino organizations and leaders coming together to keep the Internet open and free from discrimination.

About CMJ: Founded in 2002, the Center for Media Justice is a dynamic progressive communications strategy and media policy tank for grassroots organizations serving communities of color and America’s poor.

About NHMC: The National Hispanic Media Coalition is a non-partisan, non-profit, media advocacy and civil rights organization established in 1986 in Los Angeles, California. Its mission is to educate and influence media corporations on the importance of issues impacting U.S. Latinos.