Collect call class action changes landscape of WA prison advocacy
Disability Rights Washington recently received a large award that will fund the work of DRW’s Amplifying Voices of Inmates with Disabilities (AVID) prison project over the next four years. The funds came from a class action lawsuit brought by a private firm. The case was brought against telephone companies that were overcharging people who accepted collect calls from prisoners. The damages in the case totaled over $45 million and after class members came forward for their portions of the award, millions of dollars remained. The leftover money needed to go to organizations that would work to benefit current and former prisoners. Since DRW has a long track record of individual and systemic advocacy on behalf of current and former prisoners with mental illness, traumatic brain injuries, and developmental and physical disabilities, DRW was one of the several organizations selected to receive a portion of the leftover money.
Read more about the use of leftover money from class actions on DRW’s page about cy pres awards.
The leftover funds used for legal advocacy are administered by the Legal Foundation of Washington (LFW), which also oversees the distribution of multiple other funding sources for legal services across the state. AVID will work with the other organizations who receive funds from this lawsuit to make significant long-lasting improvements for current and former prisoners across the state.