One of the most heated debates around the topic of the U.S. prison system has centered around the ability of prisons to charge the for-profit contractors doing business within their institutions a commission, often referred to as a legal kickback. This system is so pervasive that nearly all prison contractors in the United States engage in it at one time or another. And it is all perfectly sanctioned by laws, both local and federal.
Prisoners, inmate rights advocates and family members have long been particularly concerned with the often enormous kickbacks that are paid by prison communications firms. This is a major concern for the families because they are usually the ones who end up footing the bill for the calls that their incarcerated loved ones place to the outside of prison.
And the kickbacks involved can often be shockingly high. In the state of Arizona alone, Global Tel Link, one of the most prolific prison communication companies in the nation, is charged an average of 96 cents on the dollar for all revenues it makes in the state’s carceral facilities. This has translated into the company charging an average of more than $1.50 per minute for simple outgoing phone calls in that state. At such exorbitant rates, inmates staying in touch with their families on a regular basis becomes all but impossible.
However, GTL counters that such kickbacks provide a major source of revenues to the country’s cash-strapped prisons, enabling them to house an ever-expanding inmate population. In many cases, the prisons would be forced to literally let violent criminals loose, should that spigot of funding suddenly dry up.
The prisons themselves agree with this. So dire is the state of prison funding throughout the country that many wardens claim they would have to start immediately making cuts to critical services and staff if they were denied their phone commissions.
There are quite a few issues that I’ve noticed with Global Tel since I’ve been using the services that are provided. The customer service representatives are rude and don’t want to help anyone who calls. They only seem to care about the money that they make from the high rates that are charged for each call. It’s often very hard to add money to an account. When I opened my account, I had to pay a fee of $25 just to get everything set up so that I could receive calls from my husband.
I’ve contacted state officials to see if there’s anything that they could do, but they claim that the prison system regulates the companies that they use for services like this. However, I’ve heard that the Federal Communications Commission is responsible for trying to regulate rates for these companies. The FCC is trying to find a way to lower the rates or at least keep them from getting too high. It doesn’t seem like it’s fast enough because Global Tel link charges the highest of any I’ve ever seen regarding phone rates. The people these high rates impact are those who are simply trying to stay in touch with family members until they can get home.
Global Tel is a company that tends to take money from people who don’t really have the extra money to throw around. My husband is in prison right now, and phone calls are about the only way that we can maintain a relationship with each other. We write letters, but it’s nice to be able to talk to someone over the phone. The rates for the calls are high, and I simply don’t see why the company charges what they do for a 10-minute call.
Sometimes, I think that it might be better if I just wait out the time he’s in jail for him to come home. I had to pay a fee when I started my Global Tel account, and it seems like there’s always some kind of added fee when I put more money on my account or when I accept a call from him. There is no way that Global Tel needs to charge the rates that it charges. It’s a big company, and if numerous prison systems use the company to allow inmates to make phone calls, then it will make a significant amount by charging decent rates that people can afford instead of trying to get the most out of people.
It seems like the only thing that Global Tel is good at is dropping phone calls. My boyfriend has only been in prison for a few weeks, but it seems like it’s been months because we can never have a decent conversation. I’m spending a lot of money each week on my Global Tel Link account, and I think that the service should be better than what is offered. There are some days when we can have a conversation without the phone hanging up, but most of the time, we get cut off about five minutes into the conversation.
I’ve talked to Global Tel about this issue, but the only thing that the company tells me is that it must be an issue with my phone. I have a landline just so that I can talk to my boyfriend because I know that cell phones tend to lose service. There are other people in the prison who have the same issue, so I know it’s not just my phone or my account. Global Tel doesn’t care about the calls that are dropped. It only cares about the amount of money that it can make from people who are desperately trying to stay in touch with their loved ones.
Telmate is a telecommunications company that serves jails and prisons. Just like all of the other prison telecommunications companies, it charges through-the-roof costs for phone calls between detention centers and the outside world. The charges and rates per minute really vary per state and locale. In an article online, the rates per minute and surcharges are shown for a variety of companies. Unfortunately, the prices that Telmate sets are not disclosed. Fortunately, we can get an idea of how much they might charge by looking at the prices that other phone companies charge. For the other phone companies, the surcharge per call can range from $3.95 to $4.99. This is the amount that is automatically charged just for making a call. For the other companies, the rates per minute are set at around $0.89 a minute. Just to upload money to pay phone calls with, people are charged fees. If you want to upload money online, Telmate will charge you $5.00 plus 30.5%. Over the phone, Telmate will charge you about $8.00. If you want your money to be refunded, Telmate will charge you $10.00. In order to hold the money of customers, fees are regularly charged. Telmate charges a monthly fee of $2.95 a month for that purpose. There are a bunch of confusing fees that have official sounding names alluding to government requirements, but are actually unnecessary and seemingly fraudulent.
Securus, another prison telecommunications company accused Telmate of telling lies in order to lure customers away. However, one must be weary when hearing these accusations, because prison telecommunications companies are all at odds with each other. Securus also accused Global tel-Link, another big telecommunications company, of telling lies and attempting to lure away customers. All of these companies are constantly competing against each other and bickering with each other, though to the common man it doesn’t really matter. In the end, all of these companies charge way too much for phone calls. Does it really matter whether the average person goes into debt from one when he or she is going to also go in debt from others?
Hundreds of thousands of families are all too familiar with Global Tel Link and not for good reasons. The private phone company is charging as much as 89 cents per minute for families of the incarcerated to talk to their loved ones. On top of the extremely outrageous price per minute, there is a $3.95 per-call charge tacked onto that. For a much cheaper price, you could get a monthly plan through Verizon that would include unlimited voice calls and text messages as well as 1 gigabyte of data service.
Prisons normally sign contracts with certain phone carriers and instead of being competitive, Tahy offer the prisons a generous portion of the money that they receive from the inmates’ phone call bills. Some carriers go as far as to pay up to 96 percent of their call revenue.
People are getting fed up and are trying to get the FCC to step in and regulates and although slow, the ball is rolling. New York has stopped accepting commissions from phone companies in 2207 which has caused a severe drop in the price of calls. It has cost New York $20 million annually but it has also kept inmates more docile and has also reduced the black market cell phone trade. Visit Bloomberg to know more about GTL.
Three of the major providers have submitted a proposal to the FCC that would involve reduced commissions and will put new restrictions on the fees charged for payment processing. The prison telecoms have grown tired of having to compete with one another and having to outbid each other and have gotten themselves into something that they are now ready to get out of. The prison telecoms are ready for a big change and the FCC id going to have to step in and fix things. You can read the full story here. Read more on PRNewsWire.com.
Global-Tel Link definitely gets my vote when it comes to enhancements in the technology that is found in prison systems. I have no doubt that people are going to be utilizing the software that has been created by Global-Tel Link to communicate with inmates that are locked away. I just think that this is the wave of the future because we are already seeing this type of technology on our tablets and our Smartphone. I was certain that it would only be a matter of time before a company like Global Tel-Link would come forth with a video visitation solution that would also upgrade the prison technology.
It would only be a matter of time before this step in the upgrade of the prison technology would be put in place. I knew that this would become something that prisons would move towards because there has been so much contraband brought into the prison system from outsiders. Sometimes even the best correctional officers will not be able to pat down and find everything that a visitor may be trying to sneak into a prison to an inmate. I think that the Global Tel Link video visitation concept is going to be extremely popular in any prison system where contraband has been found. When inmates are visiting through a video session there is no possibility of any contraband being brought into the prison? That is why I think that administrators of prisons need this.
Some people may wonder if it is going to be any good for inmates to have access to a private window of video visitation, but this is not private. Correctional officers get the chance to terminate any sessions that may be viewed as inappropriate for the video visit. I think that this is definitely something that is needed because all communication that inmates have with the outside world would definitely need to be monitored. Visit Bloomberg to know more about GTL.
Global-Tel Link provides the possibility for this to be done, and I think that more prisons are going to move towards this. It provides an increased level of prison security.
I discovered Global-Tel Link was not the only company that does this video visitation, but I believe that it is definitely one of the better companies for this type of communication because thousands of prisons are already implementing this. It is the type of company that has stayed innovative through the years. This company has become a leader because the software is easy to use and it is reliable. Global-Tel Link has been bringing innovation to the Department of Corrections for decades, and I think that this type of track record deserves recognition. I believe that people our loyalty because this company provides quality products. Know more at consumeraffairs.com.
Being in a correctional facility can break a person’s spirit due to homesickness and worry about the wellbeing of family and other loved ones. Keeping in touch with them at home can, however, remedy that. Correctional communications is a $1.2 Billion a year industry dominated by a few in all 50 states. With around 6 Billion minutes in 2014, it is a job for a big player. Global Tel Link, started in the 1980s in Mobile, Alabama, serves about 85% of the industry. Visit Consumerist to know more.
The company serves 2300 facilities and 1.9 Million inmates in 50 states and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. It is now controlled by private equity firms. GTL prides itself in provision of correctional technology and government payment services with a visionary solution and customized products to fit the unique needs of clients. They invest time, energy and resources to understand the challenges faced in correctional facilities. I am glad that the company has a history of providing the best products and has been at the forefront of an evolving correctional market.
Global Tel Link advocates for a balanced approach towards call rates in correctional facilities. The company hopes the Federal Communications Commission will utilize cost studies provided by facility administration to come up with sustainable and fair rates. Most recently Global Tel Link released the Offender Management System Version 5.4 with further technological advancements in a bid to improve the already great quality of services they provide. Read more on PRNewsWire.com.
Global Tel Link is PCI compliant to protect sensitive information and has never, either it or its subsidiaries, been prosecuted for fraud, deceit or activities outside the law. The company also employs knowledgeable and responsive tech support working around the clock across all GTL products. Clients can, therefore, rest easy as they will receive services from a company with integrity and ethics as its pillars.
Families of Hampden County, Massachusetts inmates don’t have to strain their budgets anymore to stay in contact with their loved ones, thanks to the FCC. A 15 minute call used to cost $17, now inmates can talk for 30 minutes for only $3.60. GlobalTel Link, the inmate telephone service provider, was paying the jail a 74 percent commission on the cost of each call, which amounted to approximately $89,000 per month in the jail’s coffers according to an article posted on MassLive.com.
Sheriff Michael J. Ashe Jr., who runs the jail, was not happy with the FCC’s ruling; he even went so far as to threaten to eliminate the inmate’s telephone service. Responding to a MassLive inquiry, the communications officer for the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department said that it costs the department $165,487 per year in administrative costs to maintain telephone services for inmates and the remainder of the money from commissions is used to fund various programs for inmates. Critics, however, cite the bloated Hamden County Sheriff’s Department large, 27-person administrative staff, each of whom earns a six-figure salary, as the reason the Sheriff needed the commissions from GlobalTel Link.
Inmates still have access to telephones to contact their families, however, there is no word yet if the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department will maintain the programs that that were funded by the high commissions.
Inmate communications is very important because it gives the correctional facility monitoring and surveillance over inmate calls and quality telephone communications to inmates. A phone call can determine an inmates needs being met or staying in touch with their legal counsel. However, traditional calls can be very expensive and provide low quality services. Global Tel-Link is committed to an excellency in customer service satisfaction. Each year Global Tel-Link is responsible for handling millions of calls for thousands of customers. Customers can rest assured they will get every minute that they’ve paid for. Advanced technology features gives you cheaper phone calls for inmate communications.
Inmate Prepaid Services
Inmates can now purchase prepaid phone services through commissary. For a small processing fee and a one time payment inmates can get set prepaid calling intervals that work with landline and cellphone devices. Calls are clear and come in the form of traditional packages that are affordable for an inmate budget. If an inmate is released before all of his phone time is used they can have $5.00 deducted for a processing fee and have the remaining balanced refunded back to them.
These services also work for their families. They receive one complimentary call at which time they are prompted to create an Advance Pay account that allows prepaid services. For a small time fee and a minimum of $25.00 you can get the calling services that you need. Global Tel-Link has teamed up with JPay to offer even more features at an affordable rate. Together they are committed to excellency in inmate communications. In a recent online article Securus has continued to praise Global Tel-Link for superior high quality inmate correctional facility communications. Thousands of inmates and families continue to rely on Global Tel-Link each year for quality inmate telephone services.