As critics point to high inmate calling rates, phone providers say benefits match costs

if you’re unlucky enough to be sent to prison in the United States, one thing you should know is that whether or not you will be able to maintain a meaningful relationship with your family, while you are incarcerated, almost entirely depends on which state you get locked up in. That’s because prices for inmates to make outgoing phone calls, the main way in which inmates in the nation’s prisons are able to stay in touch with loved ones, can vary by as much as $2 per minute, depending on which state you’re in.



Is $2 per minute really fair?


Some calling providers and prison administrators point to the fact that even though some inmates throughout the country are forced to pay completely exorbitant rates, it’s still perfectly fair. That’s because there is no Constitutional guarantee that inmates should be provided with telephones or any other means of communicating with the outside world. In effect, calling is nothing more than a privilege, so administrators can set the rates however they please.


But inmate advocacy groups, such as the Prison Policy Initiative, say that this is a short-sighted and callous approach to the question. They say that the majority of calling costs are shouldered by the loved ones of the inmates, not the inmates themselves. This added burden on the families of the incarcerated is tantamount to extrajudicial fines being imposed on innocent family members.


On top of all of this, critics of the current iaizzes-faire system of prisons charging whatever they feel like goes against the grain of what prisons are supposed to be all about, namely, the rehabilitation of inmates and their eventual reintegration into society. Many studies have shown that inmates who are allowed to stay in frequent contact with family and loved ones on the outside are more likely to become socialized to their pro-social milieu than to the anti-social persona one must adapt in order to make it in the tough prison environment, which is dominated by psychopaths and career criminals. These critics say that cheap phone calls, far from being a luxury for inmates, constitute a public good. This is because they allow inmates to successfully reintegrate back into society, causing less harm from crime and fewer direct costs to the taxpayer, due to fewer people needing to be locked up.


But prison administrators have another ace up their sleeve. They say that the funds provided by effectively taxing inmate phone calls, through the system of commissions that the service providers kick back to the institutions themselves, is absolutely crucial to their operations. In fact, many prison administrators have stated that if rate caps are ever imposed, they will have no choice but to simply remove all of the phones from their facilities, effectively ending any chance inmates have of staying in touch with family and loved ones on the outside.


These are just a few of the considerations that drive the highly complex topic of inmate calling prices.


Contrary to vocal critics, private contractors often create real value in prison system

For at least the last 50 years, there has been an intense debate about the role of private contractors in the U.S. prison system. Many people feel that these private companies have no legitimate role at all in an industry that has traditionally been handled by government agencies alone. However, others point out the very real costs savings that have accrued to jails and prisons throughout the country, due to the technological innovations and high levels of efficiency provided by various firms operating in different areas of America’s carceral institutions.



Prison calling provides ideological battleground


Perhaps no where has this debate been more heated than in the area of inmate calling. Many critics of private enterprise say that the high rates paid by some inmates across the country serve as a prime example of the kinds of excesses that are commonly seen when private enterprise is allowed to stick its venal claws into the cookie jar of public services.


However, the calling providers themselves sharply disagree. Pointing to great accumulations of evidence, companies like Securus Technologies are quick to cite success stories in state after state, where they have managed to lower the costs that inmates face when calling loved ones by entire orders of magnitude. Securus seriously questions whether the government itself ever would have been able to drive the serious innovation that the company is famous for, bringing highly innovative and cost-cutting products to market, such as their famed VoIP-based video visitation technology. Securus and other providers say that it is completely unrealistic to assume that government bureaucracies would ever be capable of the levels of innovation and efficiency that private enterprise is so well-known for.


However, critics of the providers and the current system as a whole shoot back with examples of their own. In the state of Arizona, prisoners are forced to pay up to $2 per minute to talk to their loved ones over the prison phone lines. At these rates, it is virtually impossible for any inmates to stay in touch with their family for more than a couple minutes each month. Critics of the current calling regime argue that this is a terrible imposition on the prisoners, as well as their families. They say that the likely consequences of forcing the prisoners to only socialize with fellow convicted felons will almost certainly be increased behavioral problems inside the facilities and increased recidivism outside. They have implored the Arizona state legislature to do something about the immense rates many times but to no avail.


For their part, though, the communications providers say that the state of Arizona is a fairly extreme anomaly. They say that there are just a handful of states where the rates inmates are forced to pay even come close to those seen in Arizona. Those exorbitant rates, say the providers, are largely driven by the commissions that are kicked back to the state’s institution, which, in that state, can run as high as 99 percent of all phone revenues.


Global Tel-Link Leads in the Way in Innovation in the Prison System

Global Tel-Link is recognized as the leader in prison technology. This is a very competitive industry, but Global Tel-Link is reigning as the leader because it has been able to bring forth some serious innovation in video visitation while lowering inmate communication costs.

The thing that this company has been able to do is change the entire structure of the way that people communicate. This is company that provides a platform for inmates to obtain entertainment media. Secure inmate entertainment comes in the form of CD players and MP4 video through tablets. This is a profitable industry, and this entertainment is secure so correctional officers are able to monitor what the inmates get access to. Read more reviews at

There is also a great amount of interest in the prison video visitation in the prison system. The correctional officers can actually terminate a video session if it is deemed inappropriate. This is a very important aspect of prison visitation because it increases safety. A lot of people have brought contraband into prisons.

There is a need for communication software like what Global Tel Link is providing. This company has become one of the top players when it comes to providing crisp and clear video solutions that make it easier for family members to stay connected to their loved ones on the inside. For the prison administration staff it also cuts down on the amount of contraband that enters into the prison system. This has always been a problem, and sometimes it can become a dangerous thing for administrators in the prison system. When inmates are doing the video visit there is a complete elimination of any type of Contraband that might friends of prisoners might sneak into the system.

What the Global Tel Link Company essentially does is give the administrators a greater level of control. I think that this is something that is certainly needed in prisons today. With this company in place to provide this type of increased security measures it is going to be a safer environment for people that work in the prison. That is why I think that every prison needs to consider what Global-Tel Link has to offer at some point. This company has been around for more than two decades, and I think that their services are needed. Visit Consumerist to know more.

I think the Global-Tel Link is the type of company that will continue to be around because the engineers behind the software are innovator. They are always bringing new and exciting things to the table. That is what has given this company the type of longevity that it has had so far. It is definitely a a welcomed addition to the technology that has been incorporated into prisons today.

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The Keefe Group Monopoly

The economic state to which prisoners in the United States have been subjected in the last two decades is simply rejecting. The felons should be rehabilitated, in their condemnation to live in seclusion from the society to which they pose a danger. The point of correctional institutions should never be to sell commissary goods. The corruption that demeans the little self-worth these prisoners may have infuriates them, poisoning their minds to resent the authorities and practice corruption as well. It is not right the Keefe Group has been allowed a lucrative monopoly to supply commissary goods to literally all American prison, both publicly and privately owned and managed. Learn more on STL Today about Keefe Group.

Commissary goods are fundamental needs. They may not substitute basic goods, but they may constitute the later. Denying any human being access to their basic need would cause them to lose their dignity or piece of mind. The two are human rights and to infringe on them is unconstitutional. Furthermore, commissary goods like bathing soap, detergent, bedding, snacks, and beverages keep the mental and physical needs of prisoners intact. Since prison wardens and other patrons hold these prisoners in confinement, they have an obligation to keep them fed and healthy both mentally and physiologically. The provision of commissary needs may not be an obligation for these correctional institutions, but they are certainly obligated to the prisoners to supply such goods at the lowest prices possible, sometimes even at subsidized.

However, the reforms systems seem to forget their duty and obligation. They have given precedence to making profits over reforming their prisoners. They have instead, turned them to cash cows by monopolizing the supply of commissary goods. The decision, worse still, has been proven in courts of law to have influenced by incentives received illegally as bribes. Read more about Keefe Group on

In 2007 and seven, the then Correlations Secretary took a guilty plea to the offense of taking bribes to allow the Keefe scandalous trading. He was incarcerated in 2012 after being ousted from his office a while before. The Tampa Bay Times who won the 12 Pulitzer prices, reports that the individuals who offered the bribes to the Correlations Secretary also pleaded guilty to the offense. Joseph Authur Deese was one of them. According to Jackson Jambalaya, Joseph Authur Deese went down in the corruption case which heavily incriminates the Keefe Group, and its affiliate contractors who got in trouble for their involvement in the unethical dealings.

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Telmate – Creating Communication between Inmates, Family Members, and Friends

Telmate is the third biggest and one of the quickest developing prison communication systems providers within the United States. The company is a leader and supplies cutting-edge technologies and customer services which incorporate mobile applications, facility investigator tools, photo sharing & secure messaging, and video visitation. Telmate provides a communication system which is deployed in almost 250 facilities in the entire 43 US states in addition to two Canadian provinces. The company which is headquartered in Ontario, Oregon has another office in San Francisco, California.


At Telmate, the team is guided by the objective of leveraging technology to ensure inmate communication in a secure and safe manner, and to offer tools that minimize recidivism and assist in making the time spent in prison as productive as possible. The organization leads in providing remote video visitation administration within the corrections sector. That enables inmates to communicate with family members and friends who may not visit them in custody. The family and friends only require mobile devices or personal computers to communicate from the comfort of their home.


Researchers have progressively revealed that frequent communications between inmates and their family and friends assist in lowering the level of inmate recidivism. The cost of offering inmate communication services in a safe and secure manner may at times restrict the detainee’s capability to sustain contact. However, Telmate ensures every prisoner is connected with their loved ones.



The Telmate Tablet is quickly becoming a crucial tool for correctional facilities assisting them to improve public safety, increase control and reduce inmate violence. Apart from minimizing the patient movement and offering automated administrative tasks, the tablet captures comprehensive usage details, increases staff monitoring and knowledge and provides investigators with abundant sources of actionable information. With a broad range of self-improvement resources and education, the technology also assists inmates to become productive members of the society, hence minimizing the rate of recidivism.



The new technique incorporates some features that are of benefit to both inmates and correctional officers, all of them not costing the taxpayer. As per the Administrative Office, prisoners who are better adjusted within the prison environment and linked to the outside world are more probable to keep away from what causes them to jeopardize early release or receive disciplinary infractions.


Telmate combines the hands-on experience of 10 years with reliable and innovative technologies that drive efficiencies, control, and security. The company services more than 300 correctional facilities in US and Canada. It also positively engages inmates with eBooks, education, movies, games, music and more services. On service control and operations, Telmate optimizes the monitor and captures profound insights with the investigator and end-to-end tools. The model facility operates automatic processes, workflows, approvals and paperless procedures. You can check the link,, for more information about the company.



Global Tel Link Still Gouging Customers In Spite Of Complaints

Prison telecommunications provider Global Tel Link (GTL) is still charging outrageous prices after the season of hit podcast Serial has ended.

This news is the latest saga surrounding GTL and its affinity for gouging inmates and their family members. The company has been hit with mass complaints, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) fines and exposes by other companies in an attempt to embarrass them to do the right thing — but nothing has worked.

Serial is a podcast about the circumstances surrounding the murder of Hae Min Lee by her boyfriend Adnan Syed, who has been incarcerated since 1999. The show features interviews between Syed and writer Sarah Koenig. The Serial episodes open with an announcement of a Global Tel Link call from a Maryland correctional facility. Read more reviews at

The point of the issue is — the entire serial likely wouldn’t have come to fruition without the services of GTL. Due to the rules and regulations regarding recording devices, the entire interviews had to be done via phone calls. The calls are not cheap by any stretch. An article in Bloomberg News suggests that the prepaid phone calls between Koenig and Syed costs around $2,500.

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How is that possible, one might ask? Easy. GTL is one of the highest prison prepaid services around. And at $3.95 the first minute and 89 cents for additional minutes, it’s highly conceivable. While contracts vary from state to state, the FTC is investigating GTL and other providers. Read more about GTL on

How Securus is Changing Inmate Communication

Inmate communication with the outside world is a costly but important aspect of incarceration. In fact, an inmates ability to communicate with family and friends on the outside can greatly impact both the quality of their incarceration as well as the cost of keeping them incarcerated. Securus Technologies is on the forefront of the changing world of inmate communication and they are hoping to improve things like video calling, potential job prospects for inmates, better healthcare of inmates, and many other improvements for this aspect of American society. Many people do not spend any time thinking through the cost and difficulties that can arise by holding someone in prison for extended periods of time. Taxpayer dollars go toward phone calls, attorney visits, healthcare, and many other expenses that could be greatly decreased by the affective use of technology. recently presented some of the changes that Securus hopes to make in the inmate communication business and the conclusion was that these improvements could benefit everyone, including the inmate himself, please click here to read the entire article. As communication technology throughout the world continues to improve and make people’s lives that much easier, the same should hold true for this segment of the population. The Securus Technologies would make communication safer, more secure, faster, and ultimately more effective than it is now. Taxpayers should always be on the lookout for a way to lessen incarceration costs and make prison time more productive for those who are jailed. This technology will do just that.

Telmate, a Provider of Inmate Communications

For the last ten years, Telmate has been one of the leading providers of telecommunications between the inmates who have been imprisoned in the many correctional facilities across the United States. The company proud itself for connecting the many Americans to their loved ones back home and other relations that have had the physical connection cut out due to imprisonment. This service has gone as far as to help protect the community members at large since before inmates call people there is a rigorous verification method that ensures the prisoner is calling the correct person. This ensures that no member of the public receives an unwanted call which would later disturb them.


The companies mission as stipulated in their agenda is to provide a very secure technology which helps those incarcerated to break the circle of recidivism while protecting and serving the community. Telmate also credits its systems of offering online education, legal, social and even spiritual resources to prisoners as something that helped ease and improves the mental health of many inmates.


Another important fact to note down is Telematics system of call payments. Its system can enable every patient to have their accounts in which families and friends can externally load it with money which the inmates themselves can use to call them. This has ensured that no cost is carried forward to the general public. Also, this mode of payment by the prisoners themselves has made them more self-reliant and provided they mind their spending when making calls. In other words, it has helped demonstrate the financial responsibilities of the prisoners.


The company also is proud to be one that is driven mostly by new ideas and as such has carried out more research with more developments that has surpassed the other players in the market. Telmate sees itself as the trendsetter in prisons communication, and due to this, it has always strived to provide law cost calls that are fair. Telmate has indeed demonstrated its commitment to ensuring that those people who are incarcerated are always treated fairly as extended members of our community.



The Corruption of the Keefe Food Group

Since criminal institutions were first created back in 1790s, life for prisoners was very difficult. People who committed crimes and went to prison in the early 18th-20th century were completely disconnected from society. It was nearly impossible for criminals to be legally included in the “outside world”. Inmates that came out of prison after many years are thrown into a totally new environment from when they first came to prison. In all prisons technology was obsolete, there were no computers, telephones, nor cellphones that inmates could have access to. However, with society progressing, inmates have been more connected to the real world because of the Keefe Food Group. Read more articles on Blogspot about Keefe Group.

On television, prison is depicted as a horrible place to live. Nobody wants to go to prison because of the harsh violence, horrible living conditions and nasty food. Although inmates have committed crimes, they are still humans and should be treated better than they are when behind bars. The Keefe Food Group is a company that comes into prisons and changes the traditional rules. The Keefe Food Group has come into prisons all over the United States making serious revenue. This company brings food from the outside world into prisons; the prisoners enjoy this luxury not knowing that the Keefe Food Group is stealing their hard earned money. The way this company is stealing the inmates’ money is because they are selling the prisoners products that are cheap in the real world, for much higher prices. These prices are so high that the Keefe Food Group is making over 30 million dollars in just a few years because of how much they are overcharging inmates. I think this is extremely unfair that inmates are having their hard earned money taken away. Read more about Keefe Group on

Not only is the Keefe Group responsible for overcharging inmates for simple foods, they are also putting a tax on deposits that inmates receive from their loved ones. Every time an inmate gets money from their loved ones back at home, they are faced with a steep fee. So not only are basic commissary items severely overtaxed, they are having their money taken away from them. There must be a stop put to the Keefe Food Group because they are not benefitting the lives of inmates in the long run. The Keefe Food Group provides inmates with food from the outside worked but they are stealing money from inmates at the same time. I know that prisoners are unaware that the the money their family sends them is being overtaxed, giving the inmate less money that they deserve. The Keefe Food Group needs to stop taking advantage of the helpless inmates and give them the money they deserve.

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Losing Money Over Charges

My recent transaction with Global Tel ended with spending about $100 on only a few phone calls. There are fees when setting up an account, and there are fees when you accept a phone call. The company is known for high rates, and this is evident with the $10 phone call that I received. The reason for the high rate is because I live about two hours from the jail where my husband is at, but that doesn’t mean that I should have to pay $10 every time I want to talk to him. Read more about GTL on NYTimes.

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The final straw with this company came when there was $20 taken off of my account for no apparent reason. I called to see why there was that much money removed and couldn’t get any kind of answer. I called the supervisor and even the jail to find out what might have went wrong only to be told that it was for fees that weren’t charged for some of the calls that I had already accepted. Global Tel Link is a company that is out for money and doesn’t care about anything else. It’s a company that needs to be closed or needs to change its ways as there are people losing money all the time. Read more on about GTL.