Global Tel*Link Expresses Grave Concern with Proposed FCC Decision on Inmate Calling Services

Global Tel*Link Expresses Grave Concern with Proposed FCC Decision on Inmate Calling Services

Order Ensures All Parties Lose, Company will Pursue Stay of FCC decision

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22, 2015 / (PRNewswire-USNewswire/) – Today, Global Tel*Link (GTL) expressed its dismay and concern about the impact of the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) latest order instituting new regulations for the Inmate Calling Services (ICS) industry. These new regulations establish caps on rates and fees for intra- and interstate calls, but stop short of capping site commissions – rather opting to “strongly discourage” these payments to facility administrators.

These steps create significant financial instability in the industry and will pose a threat to service at many of the nation’s smaller jails. Consequently, GTL is left with no choice but to seek judicial review of the FCC’s order. GTL agrees with the concerns of the dissenting commissioners and encourages all stakeholders to join in challenging this well-intended yet disastrously short-sighted plan.

“In today’s decision, the FCC may ultimately hurt inmates and their families – the very people they set out to help. While they might see lower per-minute rates, they could be left with either the lowest quality of phone service or no phone service at all,” said GTL CEOBrian Oliver. “Indeed, telling the world that technology, security, and commissions can all be provided under the proposed caps is profoundly naïve, ignores the FCC’s own record and defies common sense.”

The FCC’s latest order creates a financial tsunami for the ICS industry. The order reduces rates below the sustainable cost of service for providers and preserves the largest driver of overhead costs. This could have a crippling impact not only on service providers, which may be forced to cancel contracts, but on inmates and their families, many of whom may be left with no service at all.

“GTL supports bringing cutting edge technologies and affordable phone service to facilities, inmates, and their families across the United States. We have demonstrated this commitment repeatedly by working with our industry partners to develop a sustainable and comprehensive solution that would reduce costs for consumers. By ignoring this proposal and the overwhelming evidence submitted in support of it, today’s FCC order could have the opposite effect,” Oliver said.

“As an industry we were willing to compromise. We worked collaboratively, hand-in-hand with staff and Commissioner Clyburn’s office to seek sustainable public policy outcome. But at the 11th hour, the FCC turned its back on a ten year record and has fallen short of that goal,” Oliver continued.

GTL has consistently advocated for a balanced approach towards reigning in phone rates – one that would address, rates, fees, and commissions in a comprehensive manner that utilizes the numerous cost studies submitted to the docket by facility administrators, service providers, and interested third party organizations. As the FCC has decided to ignore the body of evidence that points to this common-sense reform model, GTL will be forced take this argument to the court, with the hope that the end result will be long-lasting, affordable phone service for our nation’s inmates and their loved ones.

“Despite this misguided attempt at reform, GTL is committed to seeking an outcome that is balanced, delivers on the promise of low rates and fees, while addressing the leading cost factor. We must, unfortunately, again seek the intervention of the courts to ensure an outcome that is truly fair, balanced and sustainable,” Oliver said.

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About Global Tel*Link
GTL is the leading provider of integrated correctional technology solutions, delivering financial value, security, and ease of operation to our customers through visionary products and solutions at the forefront of corrections innovation. As a trusted correctional industry leader, GTL provides service to approximately fifty percent of inmates nationwide, including service to 33 state departments of corrections, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and 33 of the largest city/county facilities. GTL is headquartered in Reston, Virginia, with more than 10 regional offices across the country. To find out more about GTL, please visit our website www.gtl.net.

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Industry Publications

Feature Articles

The July/August 2015 print edition of Corrections Today included a story submitted by the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) about an automated process and system that was put in place to automate inmate requests to staff. The article explains how the request system that was deployed by GTL for SCDC ultimately led to a request fulfillment rate of 97.6%. The digital reprint is available below.
Corrections Today July/August 2015 (.pdf)

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The March/April 2015 print edition of Correctional News included a feature story that covered GTL’s position in the market, the full breadth of our portfolio, and how we can deliver whole solutions to our customers. The digital reprint is available below.
March / April 2015 (.pdf)

Global Tel*Link Expresses Grave Concern with Proposed FCC Decision on Inmate Calling Services

In the push to reduce the recidivism rate, correctional facilities are moving away from a traditional layout to one that is designed for inclusiveness and keeping inmates engaged with outside society. Studies have shown that maintaining a support structure is a key component to keeping inmates on the right path to successful reintegration into society after release. In Australia, a new maximum security prison opened this year that includes no cells. Instead, inmates are housed in dormitory-style accommodations with 25 inmates in 16 ‘pods’ that offer more access to education, entertainment, and communication with friends and families. This novel move seeks to enhance inmates’ daily lives by making these services more accessible and improve re-integration into society. Inmates have access to technology that connects them with friends and family members, news, books, movies, education, games, and more. They are required to work for up to five hours during the day and pursue education and other programs in the remaining time. This progressive approach aligns with GTL’s vision of technology and education being available to every inmate. “GTL has the technology portfolio to enable correctional facilities to execute their strategies,” said Gad Tobaly, President, GTL International. “Whether those strategies are similar to the open-plan jail approach or focus on a more traditional environment, we offer the innovations to help facilities become safer and more secure while providing inmates with access to programs that improve their lives during and after incarceration.” GTL creates new technologies and advocates for tablets, education, and other programs to help reduce recidivism rates. “These new facilities highlight the need for technology in corrections,” said Eric Gonzalez, Executive Director, Technology and Implementation Services. “Today’s inmates are digital natives, having grown up in the age of computers, cell phones, tablets, and more. It is only logical that providing them with technology and programs to learn and better themselves through those access points is the direction that corrections is taking.” As part of GTL’s ongoing mission to keep our offerings in line with global corrections trends, the company will once again be a sponsor at the International Corrections & Prisons Association (ICPA) Annual Conference. This year’s conference is being held at the Montreal Marriott Chateau Champlain in Montreal, Canada. The conference theme of “Beyond Prisons: The Way Forward” will draw discussion on the underpinning philosophies, strategic direction, policies, and practices being instituted across the globe. More than 500 delegates from over 70 countries attend this prestigious conference. GTL and two collaborating organizations will present on two topics that relate to the use of technology in aiding the corrections and criminal justice systems. “Transforming the Inmate Environment: How and Why Facilities are Implementing Tablet Programs” will discuss how technology is used to humanize correctional efforts and will take place on Tuesday, October 23rd at 11:00 a.m. in Maisonneuve A Room. “Virtual-Enabled Justice: Delivering Swifter Outcomes and Improved Victim and Witness Experience” will discuss the use of technology to create ‘virtual courts’ that fuel efficiency, safety, and security, and will take place on Tuesday, October 23rd at 3:30 p.m. in Maisonneuve A Room. To learn more about our technology solutions, contact GTL today.