A new technology has emerged, and I say it is about time. Video visitation for inmates across this country is long overdue. Video visitation works a lot like a video chat. People all across this country will log into their computers today in order to connect with friends over a video chat service. However, equating prison video visitation with commercial video chat services is shortsighted. Video chat, an innovation brought to the criminal justice system by Securus Technologies, is so much more.
Securus Technologies video visitation is an innovation that helps law enforcement. The video visitation service schedules visitation for employees at the prison. A user logs into their Securus account, requests a video visitation time, and that request is sent to prison guards. The prison then confirms, denies, or revises the video visitation request. This scheduling software allows an employee at the prison to focus on more pressing matters.
More and more families are choosing video visitation over physical visitation. Video visitation costs only about $2.72 per video chat. Video visitation is also instant, saving families the time it would take to drive all the way across the state to a prison. This technology also saves families on travel costs. It is no surprise to learn that Securus is connecting 160,000 people per month.
Nearly 2 million people were connected with video visitation last year. This number continues to rise. As more people choose video visitation or physical visitation, less people are showing up to prisons. Prisons are already overcrowded. This technology alleviates some of the foot traffic that might otherwise be problematic. It also takes some of the burden off of security forces within the prison. With less people coming through the door, there is less of a demand for security screenings. This technology is incredibly helpful for law enforcement.
Securus Technologies is a for-profit prisons technology company which is based in Dallas, Texas, USA and was founded in 1986. Global Tel-Link(GTL) is a private for-profit company that provides communication services to inmates across the USA. GTL was founded in 1980 and is based in Alabama with Mr. Brian Oliver as its CEO. Securus and GTL operate across North America as inmate service providers. Complaints have emerged about misconduct involving Global Tel-Link. GTL has been in the limelight exaggerated charges for their services.
Securus Technologies goes ahead and takes an initiative to expose GTL’s misconduct. According to Securus’ CEO, they purpose to have a series of exposures, in a bid to save the inmate communication provision sector from extortion. According to Securus press release dated June 7th, 2016, Securus Technologies takes a step into achieving its goal of having the public informed of GTL’s acts. Securus’s CEO Mr. Richard Smith says the company is there to ensure customer satisfaction rather than just making money.
Securu’s first exposure step is done through a report by the Louisiana Public Service Commission. The report faults out GTL for customer extortion in four different ways. The report states that GTL carried out the misconduct at the time when GTL was contracted to provide out band telecom services to prisoners at Louisiana Department of Corrections. GTL is said to have allegedly programmed telephone clocks in the correctional facility to add extra time to calls.
The programming is said to have been adding 15 or 36 extra seconds to the normal call-time which would bring out an untrue call bill. GTL also allegedly programmed its telephones to bill on calls at a higher rate than the rates permitted within its tariffs. GTL is also accused of introducing add-on programs which are billed on clients without their notice. The report too indicates that GTL billed some calls twice, translating to double costs to the clients. Money exhorted from GTL clients at that time go up to $1,243,000. The report was released by LPSC on 21st January 1988. 18 years down the line, Securus says the act hasn’t stopped yet thus prompting them to act upon it.
Information about the first exposure step is found Securus – GTL Integrity Breaches. Additional information about Securus is found in the links below.
Securus Video Visitation – Kids from Securus Technologies on Vimeo.