California Senate Bill 555

This bill aims to eliminate the high costs of jail phone calls, video visits and other electronic communications. The bill would also regulate the prices of hygiene products and food sold in commissaries inside county jails, requiring that the profits be reinvested to support people incarcerated in California County jails and their transition back into their communities.  

You can read the full text of the bill here, and the Governor’s veto message here

Key Provisions: 

  • Prohibits items sold in commissaries from being offered at more than 10% beyond the cost paid to the vendor.
  • Changes the name of the Inmate Welfare fund to the Incarcerated Peoples’ Welfare Fund, and requires that the money in the fund be used only for the benefit, education, and welfare of incarcerated people.
  • Caps telephone and other service rates and prohibits communication or information service providers from imposing and collecting specified fees including: fees for depositing money into incarcerated people’s trust accounts for commissary services; fees to open, maintain, fund, or close an account with a communications or information service provider; fees to receive a refund from a communications or information service provider; fees to receive a paper bill with communications or information service providers; and fees charged for third-party payments through companies including, but not limited to, Western Union and MoneyGram
Senator Holly Mitchell
Jails and juvenile facilities: communications, information, and commissary services: contracts.