Daily News: Criminal justice advocates push City Council to end profits from prisons

A group of 30 criminal justice activist organizations are urging the City Council to yank all programs that make money off of people in jail.

Currently, the city collects cash from fees tied to inmate telephone calls, commissary buys, and vending machine purchases.

"The city should be taking action to alleviate the economic impacts of incarceration, not exacerbate them through predatory profit-making arrangements with private contractors," the letter says.

It is signed by groups like the Legal Aid Society, Brooklyn Defender Services, The Fortune Society and Urban Justice Center.

The missive says the upcoming budget "projects millions in revenues to be generated through exorbitant fees to people in jail and their families."

That setup encourages the city to put people, primarily minorities, in jail, the group contends.

"These policies act as a tax that disproportionately affect people of color and are a prime example of the wealth extraction from targeted communities that drives economic inequality - one of the most serious problems facing our city today," the note explains.

Additionally, the state prison system does not generate profits from phone calls made by prisoners "leaving 'liberal' New York City a step behind on progressive policy-making," the missive says.