What’s in Your Newsfeed?

What’s in Your Newsfeed?
By: Brian Peters, Vice President – Facility Product Management

November 1, 2017

GTL understands the importance of digital literacy in reducing recidivism. That’s why our tablets give inmates the chance to read, listen to music, access legal resources, and connect with their families. But we want to do even more. That’s why we interviewed inmates at various correctional facilities to get their views on our tablet program. All inmates that were interviewed expressed a similar desire—to be connected to the outside world. GTL’s recently released Newsfeed application can provide that kind of connectivity.

A correctional facility can often become a contained universe or bubble where inmates become insulated and isolated from what real society is and its demands. This is one reason why transitioning out of a facility can be so jarring. Studies have shown that teaching inmates digital literacy can have a direct impact on reducing recidivism. It’s well documented by the RAND Corporation that inmates who participate in education programs while incarcerated have a 43 percent lower chance of recidivating than those who did not have access to such programs. This same study indicates that inmates who participate in educational programs have a 13 percent better chance of landing a job after their release. With the Newsfeed application, inmates can keep up with current events and sports by reading the news from sources like CNN and ESPN. Access is restricted and secure, preventing inmates from navigating to unwanted websites. After a trial run, facilities can even customize inmate newsfeeds so that they can read local news in additional to national stories.

The Newsfeed app is just one tool in the extremely popular Inspire® program. One facility in Pima County, Arizona, reported that introducing tablets made a measurable difference in the culture. In an op-ed published in The Washington Examiner on September 5, 2017, Captain Sean Stewart asserted, “Since implementing the tablet program, our suicide attempts and ideations are down 66 percent and our successful suicides are down 100 percent. Staff assaults are down 60 percent, and our inmate-on-inmate assaults are down 40 percent as well.” Newsfeed, along with other upcoming Inspire tablet applications, is one part of GTL’s commitment to providing trusted, secure, and innovative technology solutions that can help inmates stay connected with the outside world and attempt to reduce recidivism.

GTL provides options to inmates and correctional facilities alike. Inmates can subscribe to applications for whatever duration meets their needs and budget. This flexibility is a main reason why tablet applications such as Newsfeed and the Inspire program itself have become so successful. GTL is proud to provide another tool that helps improve the overall environment of our customer facilities as well as reduce the recidivism rate.

Brian Peters is a Vice President at GTL. He recently headed up a product team that managed the Inspire® tablet program and currently leads the product management team in enhancing GTL’s facility and inmate product portfolio. Brian is a 9 year veteran in the corrections technology space, has an undergraduate degree from The University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, and an MBA from Hamline University.