New ICS Rules Put on Hold in Global Tel*Link v. FCC

U.S. Court of Appeals Grants Request From GTL to Postpone Implementation of New Caps on ICS Rates

Reston, Virginia (PRNewsWire) – March 7, 2016 – The implementation of new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rate caps for inmate communication services (ICS) was halted today by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., where a three-judge panel unanimously granted a partial stay in response to the petitions from Global Tel*Link Corporation (GTL) and others who had challenged the FCC’s authority to set rates below providers’ costs and questioned the agency’s attempt to assert jurisdiction in areas traditionally left to state utility commissions and corrections officials.

Over the last ten years, the FCC has diligently raised awareness of significant issues that have plagued the ICS marketplace and its consumers — bringing together inmate advocates, facility administrators, service providers, and lawmakers in a constructive discussion to inform the development of the Commission’s October 2015 order which implemented rate and fee caps on prison phone calls.

Although the FCC’s efforts to bring affordable service to our nation’s inmates and their families are to be lauded, the Commission’s ‘one size fits all’ approach ignored the diversity of correctional institutions in the United States and used blanket policy to address issues that vary from community to community. Nine state attorneys general expressed this sentiment in their challenge to the FCC’s ICS regulations, raising reasonable concerns over the cookie cutter regulatory model and its effect on their ability to responsibly administrate their correctional facilities.

“The marketplace must work with individual communities to ensure that tailor-made solutions bring the lowest possible rates to inmates across the country,” said GTL CEO Brian Oliver. “While the FCC’s public policy goals have merit, their approach has both failed to address fundamental market issues or recognize their jurisdictional limits.”

GTL will continue to work with state and local governments to ensure that all of its correctional facility partners are able to supply inmates with affordable connectivity, while also ensuring each facility has access to innovative new technology.

A number of states have already taken up consideration of inmate rate, fees, and facility payments, including Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, South Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, and Colorado.

“GTL will continue to work with its facility partners to forge solutions that allow each of our customers and their communities to bring the nation’s most affordable phone services to inmates in a way that is right for them,” 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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New ICS Rules Put on Hold in Global Tel*Link v. FCC

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.