A group of former inmates is petitioning New Jersey regulators to lower the cost of phone calls from the state's county jails.

Andy Sacks, Getty Images

Advocates say a 15-minute in-state call from a jail costs $8.50.

A new Federal Communications Commission rule holds down the cost of out-of-state calls, but it is up to states to regulate in-state costs.

The group is asking the state's Public Utilities Board to lower the costs in New Jersey, saying the high cost makes it harder for inmates to stay in touch with their families and especially their children.

County jails hold people sentenced to less than a year in prison as well as people awaiting trial who cannot afford bail. Some also house immigrants who are detained.

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