New York State is known as one of the most progressive states in the country. Say what you will about liberal politics, but one thing is very clearly working in the state of New York — crime rates are going down.
One of the reasons for this is the regulation of the telephone industry when it concerns prisons. It is a fairly overlooked and mundane thing to regulate, but the regulation has had a measurable effect on crime rates. Studies show that prisoners who stay connected to the outside world are less likely commit more crimes in the future.
So what is standing in their way? A company called Global Tel Link is making it very difficult for prisoners around the country to call their friends and families. This company somehow wedges itself in between the prisoner and the prisoner’s loved ones. It does this by securing a monopoly through a government contract to become the sole telephone services provider to a prison.
That’s when the price gouging begins. Global Tel Link begins to charge the prisoners and their families and exorbitant rate for the telephone calls themselves. There is also a menu of hidden fees that can all wrack up to hundreds of dollars per month. These fees can be absolutely ridiculous such as the fee to deposit money into an account to pay for telephone calls. That fee can be $6.95 per transaction.
This can all add up to hundreds of dollars per month and that cost is put on a very vulnerable population. The exorbitant cost can also be prohibitive which limits the amount of contact a prisoner has with his or her family. This drives up crime rates.
The Federal Communication Commission has for years tried to control the prices of the often out of control costs of the Inmate Calling Services Industry. In 2015, the FCC paced rate caps on all inmate in state and out of state calls. This was a move that infuriated a lot of both communications providers and prisons being provided the services. Loudest of the voices in protest was communications giant, Global Tel-Link. They say that this kind of rash decision by the commission actually just puts into jeopardy a much-needed service.
They say that if the cuts don’t mean the complete end to the services, at best they will mean a much lower quality of those services. GTL has in the recent past made a name for itself by providing cutting edge technologies at the absolute minimum of prices. They have also earned a good reputation as a company that works with its customers to the end of low prices. FCC’s crusade to cap prices may end all of that. GTL says they were working closely with FCC to reach a satisfactory pricing police by the institution jumped the gun and made some very unwise pricing-related decisions.
GTL is the leader in the communications industry in the areas of correctional technology, education, and government payment services. They are especially committed to their inmate communications, providing such services for 82% of the country’s prisoners. This includes 32 state departments of corrections, Puerto Rico, and Washington D.C. GTL maintains a headquarters in Reston, Virginia and many offices throughout the country. It was honored to be the world’s first web-based inmate telephone company.
It is today considered so good by the prison facility world that it is usually the first company consulted when a facility begins implementing a new form of technology. Although it has a good standing as the top in its industry, it is still pushing forward and upward and appears not to be slowing down in this progression.
During this past year, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding Donald Trump’s candidacy. As a result, through the mouths, protests and keyboards of social justice warriors, as well as the media, certain topics and opinions have been discussed. The problems of racism, sexism and intolerance towards LGBTQ people have been addressed. Discussions have been made, and the law and how society operates has been affected by these discussions. There have been some pretty reasonable discussions about intolerance and discrimination. However, many liberal discussions have been more one-sided, draconian and discriminatory in their own way. Other discussions are just very vague and opinionated, and really veer more on the side of complaining. Now it is at a point where people are just bickering with each other, and stirring up hatred. People on both sides of the political spectrum are treating their petty, one sided opinions like things that are really serious. What is the solution to all of these petty arguments? There is no solution! Everybody is right and everybody is wrong.
Instead of chasing their tails, why don’t people focus on more clear-cut issues, instead of getting complainant and violent over philosophical issues that there can never be solutions to? If you don’t understand how ridiculous it is, imagine people fighting over the answer to whether a tree makes a sound when it falls in a forest with no one around. “It does make a sound!” one says. “No, it doesn’t make a sound!” the other one says. “It does! I don’t like your opinion so I am just going to spray pepper spray in your face, right now!” That is how crazy things are.
A more clear cut issue that should be focused on is how Global Tel Link, as well as politicians, jails, corporations and politicians, are maneuvering the system to get more profits, at the cost of inmates and their families. Phone calls to detention centers cost so much money. If you don’t understand how bad it is, just imagine going through Global Tel-Link to make a phone call, and having to pay $17 for a 15 minute phone call, plus extra flat fees.
An Alabama woman is having serious difficulties with Global Tel Link. She has been dealing with the company for eighteen months so she can talk to an inmate in prison. The representatives of the company have put her down and preached to her and she has been placed on hold for as long as two hours. She finally spoke to a representative who gave her a number for the office in Alabama only to discover it was an automated waiting system. Learn more about GTL on action.aclu.org
She has been forced to pay fees for overages she does not believe existed. She keeps a log of all her calls and the length of time she was on the phone. Global Tel Link simply tells her she is wrong and will not review her log. At one point in time she was blocked for an excessively high volume of calls. She is always told she is the one at fault. She feels Global Tel Link is a scammer and a joke and that they know exactly what they are doing. She believes their customers are entitled to a handbook with their rules because all of the representatives tell her something different. Watch this video on youtube.com
She has been told to call the Alabama office numerous times but says all she gets is an incredibly nasty attitude from their supervisors. She even had a woman who started preaching to her about God and told her she would be punished for not following the regulations in her life. The speech she gave to the representative was priceless and she should receive an award. She believes either action is required against Global Tel Link or she should be given the right to use a different company. She has been charged for calls that never went through, insulted and ripped off. Her hands are also tied because there is no other company authorized for inmate calls at her loved ones institution.
It’s customary for prisoners to poses only, the necessities required in prison. The basics include jumpsuits, towels, and sandals for those in Winnebago County Jail. But today, according to the jail superintendent Bob Redmond, the future calls for changes. The inmates, therefore, stand the chance of receiving tablets. As a matter of fact, he has already contacted the tablet vendors. The move to issue tablets to the inmates rose after a tender with an inmate telephone service provider; Legacy Inmate Communications got terminated. The tender got terminated after a unanimous vote by the County Public Safety Committee. The terminated tender allowed the company to charge inmates a cost of 55cents for local calls and 21 cents for interstate calls.
The revenue generated got shared with the county. However, Legacy Inmate Communications was two months behind schedule in payment. Additionally, Redmond said that the company failed to keep all the phones functional. The company got awarded with the termination letters with a three months’ notice. There was a case where all phones in one pod failed. Therefore, as it is a right for the inmates to make phone calls, more guards got requested to escort the prisoners to different sections with working phones.
According to Redmond, trouble arises when only one phone is working in the pod. Issues occur when inmates take too long on the phone and while others are unable to make calls at specific times. Therefore, bringing wireless tablets ensures the risk to guards gets minimized. However, the tablets employ the prison standards ensuring they are rugged and secure. The tablets exhibit no social media capabilities and cannot access the internet. Inmate calling services are offered by two major companies in the USA. They include Securus Technologies and GTL Technologies who also have had a share of criticism directed to them for exploiting innmates
On Monday, the Commission granted permission to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office to make another purchase of 900 tablets for the cost of $425 each which will be purchased from the money that they made out of the first 300 tablets that they had bought a few months back. If reports are to be true, the county makes about $15,000 a month through the calls and messages that the inmates and their families make. The inmates are charged 40 cents for each message, $5.99 for half an hour video call and $4.99 for using a tablet for 24 hours.
Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones was unmoved by the critics on providing tablets to inmates for entertainment. He said that there is no system where the criminals give back something to the tax payers as they are the ones who use the taxpayers’ money to live comfortably in the prisons. He has worked with the department for 36 years, and he had never seen such an excellent opportunity where the criminals are able to pay back something to the taxpayers. According to him, this was the main reason why they chose to buy tablets for the prisoners.
The prisoners cannot access the internet and social media websites through the tablets. Since the introduction of the tablet, the contact between the jail staff and the inmates has been significantly reduced, that has reduced the chances of injuries. The tablet program was introduced in 2015 and can access special programs such as Intensive Treatment Program and GED program. Inmates can also access educational and religious books. Inmates can schedule haircuts and also seek medical help if needed.
Jones said that they would never bring anything into the jail to entertain the inmates. He also clarified that making money was not their primary motive, the safety of the inmates and the jail staff was.
The advanced telecommunication systems in prisons and jails allow for direct communication between inmates and their loved ones. The staff of correctional facilities can monitor and record such conversations. Most telephone systems in these facilities are based on contract where the service providers are required to pay commission to such institutions. After receiving numerous complaints from families of inmates concerning the high charges of phone calls, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) investigated the matter.
In 2014, they started capping inmate phone rates. Families used to pay as high as $18.00 for a 15-minute call. FCC proposed a capping that would make sure that the charges for a 15-minute phone call do not exceed $4. Correctional facilities and other law enforcement groups opposed the new caps. However, the FCC argued that the previous rates were causing undue financial strains to inmates and their loved ones. Some of the telecommunications companies retaliated by increasing their charges on local calls. This information was originally mentioned on Penitentiary Blog as explained in this link http://penitentiaryblog.com/what-you-might-not-know-about-the-inmate-communications-industry/
Advancement in technology has enhanced communication in jails and prisons where inmates can now easily contact anyone through emails, texts and social media. Despite the inmates’ limited accessibility to these forms of communication, there are concerns that these individuals can use such time to plan how to escape from a facility. Other people have argued that even though the conversations are heavily monitored, some inmates can use coded language to communicate. Many inmates might not use the phone too often. This is because of the high charges. However, the expensive inmate call rates are a small price to pay for an inmate planning to escape.
On the good side, inmate communications serves a good purpose. With the freedom to call anyone, an inmate may use such time to talk to those in authority. Richard Tabler, an inmate on death row, contacted Texas Senator, John Whitmire, to complain about how he was being mistreated. Whitmire used his position on the criminal justice team to bring changes to Richard’s stay at the correctional facility. This is a good example of how inmate communication could be used to improve inmates’ lives in prisons and offer them a chance to see the outside world while behind bars. This information was originally reported on Penitentiary Blog as outlined in the following link http://penitentiaryblog.com/inmate-communications-a-valuable-tool-or-a-dangerous-threat/
Global Tel-Link is what some people call the AT&T of prisons. These guys have been dominating the industry for years, along with a handful of other companies. I mention AT&T because, like them, Global Tel-Link is in a world of trouble for trying to stiff the American people with their evil ways.
What do I mean by evil ways? Well, I do not know how much of this story has gotten out, but as far as I know, the company has forced unfair rates on people who just want to talk to their loved ones in jail. Think about that; these people might have done something bad, but that does not mean they do not have people who care about them and love them. According to PR News, these people are now being forced to pay a lot of money to communicate with them.
It seems like GTL was able to defeat the FCC, which really makes you question how much power we are giving large companies. I know that some people out there trust multi-billionaires more than the government, but I tend to go the other way around. Why would rich people give two-cents about the people? I hope that something happens so that we can stop this inmate communication company from taking advantage of hard working Americans who are related to people who made mistakes. http://mythreecents.com/reviews/global-tel-link
According to this online news piece, the state prison outside of Jackson has successfully, recently, and fully executed a Mr. Gregory Paul Lawler….who was sixty three years old.
We can see that:
“Lawler was convicted in 2000 of the murder of Atlanta Police Officer John Sowa. Lawler fired on both Sowa and his partner, Officer Patricia Cocciolone, as the officers escorted Lawler’s girlfriend home after a night of drinking. Lawler was convicted on charges of malice murder, felony murder….” (pg. 1, paragraph 1)
There truly is, as they say, no rest for the wicked. Yet who are we to judge in the end? It is not in our hands…..but both fate and time do tell all, and reveal the worst or best in a person.
The UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT has fully summarized the case, and has like wise analyzed the fact that the crime took place in Atlanta, Georgia….and near an apartment there, to be exact. It makes sense. Mr. Lawler was himself from this respected city.
Lawler took over a dozen shots out of his gun. There was a six hour standoff with Lawler and the police. A hostage negotiator was successful in getting Lawler to back down and surrender himself, making something which could have been far worse….far better and more easy to deal with. Justice was found, but the waiting and processing time would not be so quick. As we can see from this specific case, many details were involved…and Lawler remained in prison until his ultimate death.
I’m a firm believer that when it comes to the world, everyone should be working together and working as one. When that happens, the world is a much better place for everyone involved. However, when people go outside of the system, there are real issues and real concerns to be worried about, as there are people with motives of their own. That is IC Solutions, the inmate communications company. They only have their own self interests in mind. Even though people are paying them for a service, as pointed out on pissedconsumer.com, they are not providing that service. They are simply ripping people off left and right.
They have made a pretty good living ripping people and there is no end in sight. I ask myself who are these people? Why are they doing it? What fuels them? I then remind myself that, like most things in life, it is all about money. Money can cause people to do some crazy things and it can cause people to act in ways they normally would not. That does not justify what they are doing, but it is the reality of how they are acting. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure that out.
This is the just one link of many in regards to IC Solutions, as they are the type of company that does not care about their bad reputation, as the song goes. They enjoy it, I tend to believe. They read about it, and they know that there is little to nothing that anyone can do about it in this type of situation. That makes me sad, to be honest. It should not be this bad and it should not reach these levels. There has to be a way to compromise, but how do you compromise with someone that is not willing to?