The Federal Communications Commission voted on Friday to cap rates that prison inmates are charged to make phone calls, according to the Associated Press.
The new FCC rule limits interstate phone rates at 21 cents a minute for prepaid calls and 25 cents a minute for collect calls.
Civil rights groups and families of inmates have long lobbied for the change.
Presently, phone rates fluctuate wildly and can be exorbitant for prisoners and their families. Inmates are charged 50 cents to $3.95 to make a call, in addition to per-minute fees that range from 5 cents to 89 cents, according to the FCC.
Prisoners’ families are usually left to foot the bill.
"This is a means to help strengthen families," FCC Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn said in an interview with CNNMoney. "Communication is key, particularly when families are separated."
Numerous studies have built a consensus among law enforcement, criminal justice experts and policymakers that prisoner contact with family and friends reduces recidivism, which benefits public safety and cuts taxpayers' costs for prisons and jails.
The new regulations will apply to interstate calls at all incarceration facilities, including federal and state prisons, county jails, and juvenile detention centers.