12 Months of Progress: Leadership and Evolution
Matt Caesar, Executive Vice President – Product & Technology, GTL
January 8, 2018
RESTON, Va., – (PR Newswire) The last 12 months have been particularly significant for the GTL team. As the needs of our industry changed, we spared no effort to remain the technology leader in everything related to corrections. It is an exciting time in our industry, and a look back at the past year shows why we are so excited about the months ahead.
GTL began the year with an acquisition – welcoming the leading provider of inmate education systems into the GTL fold. The acquisition of IDS has allowed us to significantly expand our education offering—we now have a range of comprehensive solutions that drive self-improvement and behavioral change among all inmate populations (juveniles to adults, probationers to the incarcerated). The acquisition underscores GTL’s focus on reducing recidivism—as education has been shown to have a significant impact on reducing recidivism rates. Research has illustrated that education during incarceration can drop recidivism rates from 76.6% (likelihood of an inmate being reincarcerated within five years of release) to 13.7% (if an inmate obtains an Associate degree) to 5.6% (Bachelor’s degree) to nearly 0% (Master’s degree).
With IDS, we offer more education services to both inmates and correctional staff than ever before. A secure learning management system (LMS), tens of thousands of pieces of credentialed content, thousands of videos, and a personalized learning dashboard all help inmates learn at their own pace and focus on their educational goals. Correctional professionals can also benefit from the LMS and credentialed content, in addition to customized courses built by GTL staff. These offerings are transforming the way correctional facilities approach inmate education and rehabilitation. One of the many new technologies that IDS introduced to GTL’s portfolio is Virtual Reality (VR). With VR, inmates can experience real world scenarios that help them work through issues in a controlled environment, such as anger management. In addition, VR can be used as a vocational training tool where inmates can learn new skills and job tasks without having to leave a facility.
Correctional facility implementation of education and innovative technologies helps promote inmate rehabilitation and successful re-entry into society. Inmates not only learn job skills and gain knowledge through educational programs, they are also introduced to technology that is now prominent in everyday life, such as tablets. This helps ease the transition from incarceration to being free.
Our second acquisition of the year was important not just for GTL but for the future of technology in the corrections industry. In August 2017, we announced our acquisition of Telmate, a leading provider of secure corrections and community corrections solutions. GTL’s portfolio is strengthened by the integration of Telmate’s technologies and expanded with a new community corrections component – the Telmate Guardian. But it isn’t just technologies that have improved GTL’s position as the corrections technology leader, it is the people that are now part of the GTL team. Combining Telmate’s incredible talent with GTL’s innovation leaders is leading to astounding breakthroughs, with teams working toward revolutionizing the corrections technology industry.
The list goes on. The strides we made through the GTL’s Inspire® program further cemented our already strong leadership position in the area of inmate tablets. The Inspire 1.5 tablet debuted early in 2017 and was followed by a more significant upgrade to our program through the Inspire 2.0. The Inspire 2.0 enhanced everything from security and memory to screen resolution.
Collectively, GTL and Telmate now offer tablet programs to over 350,000 inmates across the United States. Inmates and friends and family members sent almost 24 million messages over the course of the year through tablets and Flex® Link multi-service units. Our scheduler software managed over 7.4 million visits (video visits, face-to-face visits, Internet video visits, and more), and we connected 376 million calls, resulting in over 3.7 billion minutes of conversation between inmates and their loved ones.
GTL also listened to the requests of friends and family members for easier communication with their incarcerated loved ones. Our new, industry-first Request2Call feature combines GTL’s industry-leading Inmate Telephone System and Inspire® tablet. The feature enables communication by allowing friends and family members to use the GTL ConnectNetwork® website or mobile applications to submit a call request to an inmate using a GTL Inspire tablet. Inmates no longer have to try to plan calls in advance or call their loved ones repeatedly to get them on the phone. With Request2Call, an inmate receives a message on their Inspire tablet that their loved one is available to talk, and they can then place a call right away.
Another new innovation benefitting both inmates and their friends and family members is the addition of photo and video attachments to our inmate messaging platform. While inmates can still only send messages containing text, they can now receive photos and videos from their loved ones. This new feature not only keeps inmates in touch with those they care about most, it helps them feel like they are still part of a family even when incarcerated.
GTL also introduced several new tablet applications. Inmates can now access entertainment options such as TV audio—to listen to the day room television through their tablet and headphones, FM radio—to scan the radio dial and listen to their favorite stations, Newsfeed—to keep updated on the latest news in areas such as sports, politics, and finance, and eBooks—to read as many books as they want from a selection of over 50,000 books from multiple different genres.
Next on the list, thanks in part to the Telmate acquisition, will be a new inmate tablet that combines the best of the GTL and Telmate tablet offerings. Our evolution in 2018 to a unified tablet will further solidify GTL’s position as the industry leader in inmate tablets. Both GTL and Telmate have robust tablet programs that have served facilities and inmates successfully over the past several years. The next year will bring exciting changes that will alter the landscape of inmate tablet programs—the combination of our two programs will lead to more facilities implementing tablets to keep inmates occupied, reduce recidivism, promote education, repurpose staff resources, and much more.
As another year begins, we at GTL want to thank our customers for choosing to implement programs designed to benefit facilities, officers, inmates, and friends and family members. We also want to thank our employees for advancing our brand and creating new innovations that benefit the corrections industry as a whole. May 2018 bring as many successful changes as 2017!
GTL’s solutions will be showcased in Orlando at the upcoming winter conferences of the Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA) and the American Correctional Association (ACA). Inmate tablets and other related services will be on display in booth #413 of the main hall January 7-9, and the exhibit will also highlight the combination of GTL and Telmate as corrections technology leaders. The two technology leaders will offer their combined solutions to a broader set of customers. If you would like to learn more, visit: www.gtl.net/powerful-upgrade/.
Matthew Caesar is Executive Vice President of Product and Technology for GTL. He and his team are responsible for the development of all GTL products and software. Matt has over 20 years of experience developing and implementing technology solutions in corrections and criminal justice and has an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from Saint Francis University