Internet Video Visitation Offers Ideal Complement to Face-to-Face Visitation

For families and correctional facilities alike, internet video visitation is a welcome supplement to traditional methods of visitation in our nation’s correctional facilities

by Brian Deuster – Product Manager – Video Initiatives

Internet video visitation has expanded rapidly through U.S. correctional facilities as a complement to traditional methods of visitation. Products like Skype™ and FaceTime™, have been available to the general public for years, but these types of video communication services present a security challenge for correctional institutions. In response to these concerns, GTL developed secure internet video visitation solutions years ago that are now becoming more and more popular in correctional facilities across the country. Internet video visitation increases the communication options available to inmates and their friends and families and, with security concerns addressed, correctional facility administrators are more at ease about offering it.

The Need for Video Visitation

Numerous studies about the effectiveness of incarceration as a method of rehabilitation have shown that more frequent contact with family and friends can significantly decrease the likelihood that an inmate will reoffend. Federal and state regulations give inmates opportunities to visit with loved ones, but geographical and logistical hurdles often mean that families are not able to see their loved ones on a frequent basis – if at all. As more and more facilities add internet visitation to their visitation offerings, the miles and minutes that keep families from their incarcerated loved ones become less important. Now families that are hundreds of miles away from the prison or jail can visit with inmates from their own homes. There is no need for visitors to travel or go through metal detectors and other security checks. The offender can even stay in touch with family members who cannot or don’t want to come to the jail, including individuals such as children or grandparents.

Internet video visitation is good for inmates and their families, but it also brings benefits in facilities that choose to add it to their visitation offerings. It provides easier access and analysis of data and recordings from visitation sessions and decreases inmate movement because prisoners can have visits from their housing unit.  Internet video visitation can also serve as a reward mechanism because inmates and/or visitors could be restricted access to internet visits due to bad behavior, etc.

Common Misconceptions Regarding Internet Video Visitation

  1. Internet video visitation replaces in-person visitation
  2. As with most companies that are focused on meeting the needs of correctional facilities, inmates, and their families, GTL knows that video visitation on the web is an effective complement to traditional visitation methods. We are trying to fill the gaps left by traditional visitation methods and aim to make communicating with loved ones easier for those that are challenged by distance or time constraints. GTL provides a spectrum of options to facilities that support their visitation needs, policies and realities, rather than dictating the terms of visitation in any specific facility.

  3. Internet video visitation is plagued by technical issues
  4. There is a broad disparity in the level of technology offered by different providers in the industry, but high-quality service providers like Global Tel*Link constantly strive to provide the highest quality service to their customers. We are always improving our technology solutions and with the best practices learned from managing more than 4 million visits annually at over 170 correctional facilities. We are known for our industry-leading video visitation services.

  5. Internet video visitation is less personal than traditional visitation methods
  6. Despite the notion that video visitation is less personal than traditional visitation methods, the technology is similar to Skype™ and Facetime™ – the hugely popular video software products used by people around the globe to stay in touch with loved ones when in-person visits are impossible or inconvenient. Video visitation serves the same purpose and is designed as a supplement to traditional visitation methods, not as a replacement.

I started out in this industry selling video visitation services to correctional facilities, and now am the video product manager at GTL. I enjoy hearing all the stories about inmates who, through internet visitation, are able to attend their child’s birthday party or see the pet they love, all things that are not possible with traditional visitation methods at a correctional facility. Facilities are able to manage who is allowed to visit through the scheduling and management system, having an internet video check-in before the visit, and monitoring the visits as they go on. After the visit they have a recording they can review if there are any suspicions about things said or done during the visit and that improves security in the facility. All of this means that the risks of internet visitation are offset by the benefits. Facilities agree and, these days, when GTL is contracted to provide services to a facility, internet video visitation is usually included in the suite of products we provide.

Want to learn more?

Video visitation is an exciting technology that continues to grow in popularity amongst inmates, families, friends, and correctional facilities.  If you would like to learn more about internet video visitation services, or any other information about GTL’s video visitation programs, please contact us through our web submission page at

Last edited 12-12-17

February 11, 2016 / Blog

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Internet Video Visitation Offers Ideal Complement to Face-to-Face Visitation

The Future of Corrections Education Technology; Tablets Over Textbooks
By: Dr. Turner Nashe, Jr., Senior Vice President of Education Services at GTL

June 18, 2018

RESTON, Va., – (PR Newswire) The last few decades have brought about a rapid progression of technology, and advancements are also taking place inside prisons. Many correctional facilities have introduced inmate tablet programs to improve communication with loved ones and give inmates access to educational programs. The goals of such tablet-based initiatives are to lower recidivism rates and better prepare inmates for society after release.

Inmate tablets can be extremely effective at expanding access to education within prisons. GTL’s Inspire® tablets give inmates access to educational programs, law libraries, eBooks, and more. Tablets put a world of knowledge at an inmate’s fingertips, allowing them the opportunity to improve their digital skills and pass a high school equivalency exam, qualify for certifications, or even earn a bachelor’s degree. Beyond that, tablet technology has the potential to provide additional content for vocational training, rehabilitation programs, career building, and mental health services.

Previously, inmates had to choose from books that were available in the on-site library or whatever material their loved ones sent them. Even where family members sent books, there was a lengthy process that each book went through before it was given to the inmate. Tablets let inmates access approved eBooks within a matter of seconds.

Furthermore, this technology is beneficial to inmates and correctional facilities because of its ability to reduce unnecessary facility costs when providing education material. Facilities can save money by offering educational program access on tablets instead of having to provide costly textbooks that get worn out easily or quickly outdated.

Tablets also help build technological skills for inmates that are unfamiliar with new technologies and want to be prepared for life in the digital age. Many inmates are incarcerated for an uncertain amount of time and have no meaningful way to keep up with the rapidly evolving technology landscape. Tablets help to acquaint inmates with new ways of learning and working so they can be better equipped to participate and succeed in society after release.

Dr. Turner Nashe, Jr. is an entrepreneur, inventor, innovator, and recognized leader in building technology that facilitates delivery of educational and entertainment content to security sensitive industries such as correctional facilities, hospitals, and schools. His inventions have created innovative solutions for emerging eco-systems that are revolutionizing traditional approaches to the delivery of educational content within secure facilities. Dr. Nashe holds an Ed.D. in Administration and Supervision from Tennessee State University and a B.S. in Psychology from John Carroll University.

Press Contact:
Vinnie Mascarenhas


Payment & Deposit Solutions

Payment Services

GTL’s Deposit Systems create efficiencies when taking deposits, reduce correctional facility costs, and increase the convenience for friends and family members. GTL offers a broad selection of products to choose from so that the right mix can be created for every facility.

Booking & Intake Solutions

GTL offers multiple options for friends and family to set up and fund telephone accounts, inmate trust accounts, or commissary accounts. This streamlines the payment process for friends and family members seeking to communicate with incarcerated loved ones or provide them with funds.

Release Solutions

GTL’s innovative technology allows correctional facilities to streamline the release process through a suite of easy-to-use, time-saving products for returning inmate funds at the time of release.


Enterprise Management Solutions

Offender Management System (OMS)

From intake to release, information on all aspects of an inmate’s incarcerations are maintained by the GTL Offender Management System (OMS) – including initial intake, charges, sentencing, property, housing, medical, meal planning, scheduling, and temporary release to name a few.

Inmate Accounting & Commissary

OMS Accounting was specifically designed to meet the needs of correctional facilities of every size. Unlike standard off-the-shelf accounting systems, OMS Accounting offers corrections institutions the exact modules that will help them complete all of their correctional facility’s accounting activities.

Virtual Receptionist

GTL’s Facility Services Secretary allows friends and families to easily access facility information, inmate status, and other services such as court dates, release dates, facility address and directions, rules and policies, visitation information and hours, just by dialing a single toll-free number.


Investigative & Intelligence Solutions

Call & Voice Analysis

GTL’s IQ family of call and voice analysis products offer investigators a range of options for gathering actionable intelligence to combat fraud, criminal activity, and gang and terrorist recruitment by pinpointing the location of a called party, identifying phone type, detecting calls from multiple inmates to a single called party, and identifying inmates using voiceprints.

Data Analysis

GTL’s data analysis tools include a powerful data mining and link analysis application to identify actionable intelligence critical to ensuring a facility’s safety and security. They offer the ability to take any data source for the purposes of analysis, even including the detection of mobile devices and the extraction of its data.

Intelligence & Forensic Services

GTL’s Intelligence as a Service offering is flexible enough to meet the unique demands of individual facilities. Focused on the development of actionable intelligence, analysts are trained and equipped with the tools to analyze vast amounts of raw data to provide facilities with the proverbial “needle in a haystack.” Depending on facility needs, analysts can also be equipped to provide mobile device forensic services to extract data from legally seized contraband phones, thus assisting facilities in shutting down the supply of contraband.


Communication Solutions

Inmate Telephone Systems

GTL’s feature-rich Inmate Telephone System is a turnkey solution that comes complete with all hardware and software, including the telephone network, circuits, monitoring and recording system, call-control system, secure database, telephones, workstations, printers, and associated software.

Inmate Messaging

Message Link provides an electronic alternative to an otherwise inefficient and potentially tainted communication method. As contraband and cryptic messages are entering correctional facilities through an ever-rising level of creativity, Message Link provides a secure, controlled environment for inmate messaging.

Visitation Management

The GTL VisitMe video visitation solution allows facilities to transition traditional in-person visitation service to a more secure on-premise or remote alternative. This highly scalable solution can help facilities improve security while reallocating staff time to more critical tasks.

VisitMe Scheduler can eliminate long queues in the visitation area by avoiding the chaos of having a high volume of concurrent visitors at the facility. In so doing, the system also minimizes staffing requirements.


Inmate Services

Education & Information

Education Link allows inmates to take advantage of several electronic learning initiatives while monitoring and reporting each inmate’s progress so adjustments can be made, if necessary.


Our in-pod kiosk can be configured to allow inmates to access a variety of approved multimedia applications through a secure personal device. Offerings in the GTL entertainment portfolio provide access to the largest MP3/4, video, and e-book secure library available.

In-Facility Services

Introducing GTL Genesis to a facility provides an automated alternative to manual, behind-the-bars activities. In addition, the GTL Genesis provides the opportunity to introduce new interactive technologies that help inmates manage their incarcerated time.