GTL Unveils Integrated Video Relay Service to Improve Experience for Hearing-Impaired Inmates and Increase Security in Correctional Facilities

Newly integrated system still enables quick connection between inmates and their loved ones while providing enhanced security features for facilities


Reston, Virginia (PR Newswire) – May 1, 2018GTL today announced that it has integrated Video Relay Service (VRS) into its inmate telephone system (ITS) platform, providing a better user experience for both inmates and correctional facilities.

VRS is a video calling service for the hearing impaired that uses video to allow for American Sign Language (ASL) conversations between parties or through VRS interpreters. Available on the Flex® Link multi-service units, VRS is used as a complement to traditional teletypewriter (TTY) devices.

“The VRS application is completely integrated into our phone platform in order to give facilities a solution that has all the same security features of GTL’s traditional ITS phone calls,” said Brian Deuster, GTL Product Manager, Video Initiatives. “GTL has a longstanding partnership with Purple Communications, one of the largest VRS ASL translation providers in the United States, to provide ASL translation services through our new integrated app. The VRS application provides for two types of calls. The first connects two deaf or hearing-impaired parties via video to allow for sign language between the inmate and the call recipient. The second call type, taking place between a deaf or hearing-impaired inmate and a call recipient that is not deaf or hearing-impaired, connects the parties via a VRS video interpreter who uses ASL with the hearing-impaired inmate and speaks with the non-hearing-impaired call recipient.”

“As we continue to grow our offerings, we are focused on solutions that simplify the work of correctional facility staff,” said Brian Peters, Vice President of Facility Product Management. “GTL’s solution allows for live monitoring, recording, and storing of all VRS calls for use in investigations, if necessary. Only inmates that have been granted access to VRS will see the application on our devices. All the same call control and security enforcement measures, such as the use of PIN, approved numbers, restricted numbers, call lengths, etc., available for traditional telephone calls now carry over to VRS calls. Facilities can have greater confidence in the safety, security, and compliance measures associated with GTL’s integrated VRS compared to other solutions.”


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 operational efficiencies while aiding inmate rehabilitation and reducing recidivism rates. With the recent acquisition of Telmate, GTL has strengthened its suite of solutions for the corrections industry and expanded its community corrections portfolio with Telmate Guardian, a smartphone-based GPS monitoring solution. As a trusted industry leader, GTL provides services to over 2 million inmates in more than 2,500 correctional facilities in the United States and Canada, including more than 30 U.S. departments of corrections, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and many large city/county/provincial facilities. GTL is headquartered in Reston, Virginia, with an employee presence throughout North America. To learn more about GTL, please visit or social media sites on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

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GTL Unveils Integrated Video Relay Service to Improve Experience for Hearing-Impaired Inmates and Increase Security in Correctional Facilities

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.