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.

November 1, 2017 / Blog

Share the Post

About the Author


Comments are closed.

What’s in Your Newsfeed?

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.