GTL Encourages FCC and Wireless Carriers to Take Proactive Action

Resolving contraband cell phones in prisons is a matter of public safety

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Reston, Virginia (PRNewsWire) – July 10, 2017GTL, an innovation leader in correctional technology, education solutions that assist in rehabilitating inmates, and payment services solutions for government, encourages the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take immediate action to address the nationwide public safety epidemic of contraband cell phones in jails and prisons.

As another example of the dangers of contraband cell phones in correctional facilities is drawing national media attention, the time for the FCC to act is now – not the future. Last week, a convicted kidnapper escaped a maximum-security prison in South Carolina by using a contraband cell phone to coordinate the delivery of wire cutters via a drone. While he was later apprehended, this is an issue that remains a serious public safety concern. Recently, South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) Director Bryan P. Stirling and other policy makers have gone before the U.S. Department of Justice and the FCC asking them to take actions to defeat contraband cell phones for the safety of their corrections officers, employees, and for the public at large. GTL supports and shares in the concerns recently expressed by SCDC Director Stirling and other correctional administrators.

With over 25 years as a technology partner to corrections, GTL has deployed three times more Managed Access systems than any other industry provider, and we have learned through experience that Managed Access is very expensive and is not the silver bullet solution for combatting contraband cell phones. GTL is deploying a Blended Technology approach, which addresses both supply and demand for contraband cell phones and has met with some success in efforts to keep these devices out of the hands of inmates.

The FCC is not the only organization that must participate in solving this problem. Wireless carriers must realize they have an important role to play in closing the gap on this public safety issue. Much like the public-private partnership these carriers formed to build and execute the AMBER Alert System, wireless carriers have the resources to help solve this problem in the immediate future.

“Unless wireless carriers take a seat at the table and work with the corrections community to solve this problem, these kinds of security incidents will continue to occur,” stated Jeffrey B. Haidinger, President and Chief Operating Officer at GTL. “Wireless carriers have a crucial role to play when it comes to building a solution that truly promotes public safety by eliminating contraband wireless devices in correctional facilities. It is time they stepped up and worked with all parties to take actions that will protect the public. As the corrections industry technology leader, GTL is joining SCDC Director Stirling and countless others that have gone before the FCC to encourage wireless carriers to support the efforts of those who are working hard to better protect our communities.”

Consistent with previous FCC meetings and filings, last month, GTL formally submitted comments to the FCC as part of a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM). In this filing, among other things, GTL stresses the FCC should allow pilots of multiple technologies and strongly encourage wireless providers to participate in building a solution with technology they already own.

“An inmate escape is a serious public safety issue and we strongly encourage FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and FCC Commissioners to move quickly towards building consensus among all stakeholders, including wireless providers, to develop solutions to tackle this nationwide epidemic,” concluded Mr. Haidinger. “This much-needed change in regulation would give the corrections community a fighting chance at winning this war on contraband cell phones and increasing public safety.”

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About GTL
GTL leads the fields of correctional technology, education, and government payment services with visionary solutions and customized products that integrate seamlessly to deliver security, financial value, and ease of operation for its customers and aid in rehabilitation and the reduction of recidivism rates for inmates. As a trusted industry leader, GTL provides services to 32 state departments of corrections, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and 79 of the 100 largest city/county facilities, including 40 of the top 50, which comprise 1.8 million inmates nationwide. To learn more about GTL, please visit www.gtl.net or our social media sites on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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GTL Encourages FCC and Wireless Carriers to Take Proactive Action

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.