GTL's video visitation and scheduling for SCDC

GTL Begins Providing Video Visitation Services to the South Carolina Department of Corrections

Reston, Virginia (PRNewswire) –June 11, 2015 – Global Tel*Link (GTL), the leading provider of integrated correctional technology solutions, announces that it has provided video visitation and scheduling management technology to the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC). Preliminary startup occurred in early December, with full system rollout due to be complete in the second quarter of 2015. The new video visitation services will supplement other forms of visitation including in-person visitation, with the twin goals of increasing inmate contact with family, friends, physicians, and legal counsel while maintaining the safety of all involved.

“Given the link between visitation and reduced recidivism, as well as the stress placed on our staff in order to appropriately supervise in-person visits, the addition of GTL’s video visitation solution helps us to fulfill our mission of maintaining safety and security in all populations while rehabilitating offenders,” said Bryan P. Stirling, Director of the South Carolina Department of Corrections.

Video visitation has the benefit of increasing interaction of inmates with family and friends, which has been shown to reduce recidivism, while lessening the burden visitation has traditionally placed on family and friends. Video visitation also has the benefit of minimizing the opportunities for contraband to be introduced into facilities, as well as reducing the demand for correctional officers to be involved with visits. While other providers impose strict policies eliminating in-person visitation, this solution increases the communication choices for inmates and their friends and family members.

Prior to the implementation of GTL’s VisitMe video visitation technology and the VisitMe Scheduler visitation management software for the SCDC, visitation was held in person on weekends only, and visitation slots were offered on a first-come, first-served basis. As a result, family and friends of inmates had to travel as far as three hours each way to stand in lines in an attempt to secure a visitation time. Those who were unable to do so had no visitation opportunity.

“GTL’s video visitation solution, as well as the video visitation scheduler, promises to ease the burdens visitation has traditionally placed on family and friends of inmates as well as facility administrators and staff,” said Todd Stutts, Vice President of Southeast Sales at GTL. “The robust VisitMe solution is flexible enough to allow the SCDC everything they want in video visitation and visitation scheduling, without compromising at all on safety and security.”

The VisitMe video visitation technology is currently available from kiosks installed in a central SCDC location that family and friends of inmates travel to in order to conduct visits. This special facility connects to kiosks within the prison.

The newly implemented VisitMe Scheduler software allows family and friends to schedule both weekend in-person visits and weekday video visits ahead of time, guaranteeing a visitation time slot. The scheduler is available on the web, through a tablet and smartphone app, and on site where video visitation kiosks are located, making it easy for inmates’ family and friends to schedule visits.

Also planned for the future are video visits to provide mental health care for inmates, as well as legal counsel. By allowing inmates to visit with mental health care providers and legal counsel over video, the SCDC will be able to provide care to inmates without the requirement of additional staff to transport and supervise inmates for visits. Staffing required for visits with family and friends is also cut down through the use of video visitation, helping the facility to improve operational efficiency and reassign staff to other areas, all while maintaining the high levels of safety and security required.

For more information about GTL, please visit www.GTL.net.

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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 industry leader, GTL provides service to approximately fifty percent of inmates nationwide, including service to 32 state departments of corrections and 32 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)

GTL Begins Providing Video Visitation Services to the South Carolina Department of Corrections

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.