Poor People Are Expendable In The Prison Telecommunications Industry

If you have a loved one who is incarcerated, you undoubtedly know about the outrageous costs of staying in touch. Prison telecommunications providers like Global Tel Link and others have made gouging customers into a cottage industry.


Sadly, many of the people who rely upon these companies to communicate with inmates cannot afford it. They are often placed in a position of placing the call or not placing the call, which opens another can of worms within the prison industrial complex. According to some callers, 15 minutes could easily cost $12.95. “This is outrageous,” says Heather Kofalt, of Franklin, PA.


Kofalt’s husband Anthony has been incarcerated for nearly a year after he stole some items out of K-Mart. The prison is several hours away from their hometown, so Kofalt thought it would be more feasible to stay in contact by phone — or, so she thought. As it turns out, the same phone call from a regular non-prison call would cost only 60 cents.


Kofalt works as a healthcare aid. She lives in a house with her son, girlfriend and two grandchildren. “I don’t have much. I don’t understand why the system punishes individuals who haven’t done anything,” says Kofalt. Many in her predicament share her sentiments.


It was the late 1990s when it all began. Someone devised a way to make a fat lick off prison telecommunications, and today it’s a $1.2 billion-a-year industry. And the people who are getting ground beneath gears of this massive machine are the poor.


After years of complaints from customers and prison rights groups, there may be some relief on the horizon in the form of the Federal Communications Commission. They are investigating the largely unregulated industry for wrongdoing. If the FCC gets its way, people will start paying for prison phone calls at a much lower rate. But it’s not going to happen overnight.


Primer on Keefe Group, Inc

The Keefe Group, formed in 1963 as a small coffee company in St. Louis, is now a highly influential prison marketing group. The group has changed directions multiple times before its current incarnation as a firm that provides food and services to inmates. The company stood to make 41 million dollars in 2012, and continues raking in the revenue on sales. The Keefe Group provides more than just food items, they also offer basic necessities such as shaving products, toothbrushes, lotions, personal hygiene, tobacco, etc to incarcerated populations. It features seven main distribution centers and ten regional service centers in America.


Keefe Group is a major supplier to a multitude of prison industry complex roles, outside of providing services to inmates. The Keefe Commissary Network (KCN) supplies prisoners with communication systems such as kiosks, email devices, photo mail, and debit release systems. The Keefe Group has a minor monopoly on prison services, under the KCN and is able to cover the needs of major prisons as well as their officers and prisoners. Keefe Group has recently looked to expand its operations into bigger markets, and is offering media services, such as MP3 services to inmates.


Based in Missouri, the Keefe Group, and it’s parent company, Centric, are big names that started from small town success, becoming a national player in the correctional facilities market. With an umbrella of influence and reach, the Keefe Group covers a large market and works with over 10,000 name-brand products to prisons, jails, and private complexes. They also help operate correctional centers under their umbrella branch, the Advanced Technologies Group, which manages distribution, communication, offender funds administration, health records, and more.


Here are a few resources and links with more information.



Prison Censorship

St. Louis Dispatch


Challenges encountered by Telmate

Companies dealing with sensitive items need to efficient in their work to win trust from their customers. It requires a lot of faiths for people to give money or do transactions with companies or other individuals. False advertisement is one of the vices which makes people lose trust and stop believing some companies. Every human being hate lies and needs to deal with people who are sincere.


Lack of satisfaction from customer leads to complaints. Complaints may also lead to costly court cases as the customers sue the company due to failure to fulfill their agreements. One of the companies has received a lot of complaints from their customer is the Telmate. A lot of the customers have been complaining that the company is not attending to them well.


The company is suspected to have employed unqualified personnel who are unable to attend to their clients well. For a company to achieve its objectives, it is must engage qualified staff. Every customer needs to be accompanied by a lot of courtesy.


For instance, one of the customers called complaining that his son’s account had technicalities and he could not make a transaction. The company management argued that one of its customers used an unapproved card.


It was terrific that incorrect use of a card by a customer affects the other customer’s accounts. The act shows how the company is incompetence in its work. When the supervisor was asked to explain the matter, he was unable to answer, and he sounded as if he was reading from a book.


The company was found to have no interest in satisfying their customers but only for its self-benefit. The leaders of the of any organization represents how the group working will be. Corrupt leaders in an organization lead embezzlement of funds. Telmate is one of the companies which had fraudulent works. A lot of people opened accounts and deposited their money hoping to save.


Later the customers come to realize that the companies main agenda was to rob them money. The company took advantage of its customer having already deposited their money, and they had no other option. They complicated the withdrawal process.


Global Tel-Link: Makes Inmate Calling Service Affordable

The recent rapid improvements in telecommunication industry have ensured fast and reliable conveyance of information at affordable rates. This is true especially with the current evolution of highly developed mobile phones in various parts of the world. However, this may not be true as far as communication in corrective industries such as prisons is concerned.

Global Tel-Link was founded in 1980 and is one of the key telecommunication companies providing Inmate Calling Service via integrated information technology. GTL also controls 50 percent of the correctional institutions’ market and is owned by American Securities based in New York. It manages call and deposit facilities within the prisons with the aim of enhancing communication security.

Prison life separates one from his family. The convict’s family may either visit or call him/her. Due to of geographical gap, phone call is the most convenient means of communication. However, the call rates has escalated making it out of reach for most users. This results to incomplete or distorted conversation with several complaints from the clients. I believe that call rates should be affordable to enable complete and effective communication between inmates while monitoring the conversation to enhance security within the prison and curb harmful businesses involving drugs.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been advocating for a reduction in call rates to and from prisons to ensure affordability which is now a reality with the change from $ 2 to about 25 cents per minute. Thank to FCC and GTL for successfully implementing the latest rates with improved quality services.

Finally, communication in the 21st Century is quick and safe using the advancing technology. I recommend GTL to incorporate modern cost-effective communication technology in the prisons. Long-term success calls for pro-activity coupled with creativity and innovation while serving the clients. This will lead to economical services that guarantee success.


IC Solutions: The Company That is Ruining Lives

IC Solutions is ruining people’s lives, plain and simple. They are known as an inmate phone provider, which allows someone behind bars to speak to a family member that has prepaid for the right to speak to them. Let me repeat that: the phone call is prepaid, which means that IC Solutions already has their money upfront. They have made their money. Now, on their end, they need to patch the phone call through for the inmate to speak to anyone that wishes to talk to them. In some cases, the family might hire a therapist to make sure they won’t harm themselves or find themselves in even bigger trouble.

IC Solutions, instead, would like to keep on charging customers and not allowing them the ability to speak to any friends, family, therapists, or loved ones. That would be too easy for them, and IC Solutions does not like to do anything the easy way, as pointed out here: http://icsolutions.pissedconsumer.com/state/arizona.html. I truly feel for these families in these situations. They have not asked for this and they do not deserve this. As far as the inmates are concerned, they are simply looking to get their life on the right track after having it go down a bad path.

Everyone makes mistakes. There is no such thing as a perfect person. If you find me a perfect person, I’d like to meet them. IC Solutions does not care about anyone’s problems or how the fact they are preventing these phone calls from happening could be doing long-term damage to human lives. Human lives are fragile and they need to be protected at all costs. IC Solutions would rather fatten their checkbooks and their wallets than help people. They truly sicken me to my very core. They are everything that is unjust in this world.


Keefe Group Inmate Communication Services

The Keefe contract first started on 5th November 2008 and has since then been renewed severally. The president of the company is Mr. Tomas Keefe. The contracts were signed by the commissioner at that time, Chris Epps. Keefe offers the following services; sale of prepaid debit cards and processing inmate trust funds, exclusive right to selling song downloads at a price of $1.70 per song, and the exclusive right to sell commissioner items like personal hygiene products and food.


Keefe Group is a subsidiary of the Centric Group LLC. The conglomerate seems to have lucrative contracts throughout the country and federal systems. Keefe Group has offered its services to the correctional market exclusively since 1975. It has pioneered the evolution of products, technology services, and packaging services which fit the needs of facilities across the nation. Keefe Group together with its affiliates; Keefe Commissionary Networks, Advanced Technologies Groups, IC Solutions, and Keefe Supply Company is the leading supplier of various products including technology, clothing, personal care products, software solutions, telecommunications, and food products. Keefe Group provides clothing including jackets, underwear, hats, shoes, boots, and denim. The electronics offered by the company include Cd players, television, and typewriters.


Keefe Group purchased G.T enterprises from Cecil McCroy in 2008. The MDOC contract was started on 1st June 2006 and amended in 2007. The contract authorized GT to sell commissionary products at the Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility. The management of Mr. McCroy also operated the prison well. The company withheld 20% and 24% exclusive of sales tax from the sales to inmates and the amount increased in 2008 to 28%. Keefe received $40,434,989 for the period between 2008 to 2014 and GT enterprises received $3,225,475 from 2007 to 2008 from MDOC.


The products of IC solutions which is an affiliate of Kefee are designed to help people to remain connected with their loved ones. IC Solutions provides different options for creating an account, leaving voice messages, and chatting in real time through video visitations. The partnership of IC solutions with Access Corrections further allows the clients to send photos and emails through an MP3 program and it also allows them to deposit funds for their loved ones.

http:// www.keefegroup.com


The Unmatched Prison Communications Services Provided by the IC Solutions

The IC Solutions is a telecommunications provider for inmates and correctional facilities in the United States. It helps family members and friends keep in touch with their loved ones behind bars by providing account creating services, phone purchasing orders, bookings for meetings, voice calls, and message sharing centers. Video conferences are the latest platform adopted by the IC Solutions.

Key IC Solutions Communications Pillars

 Kiosks-these acts as safe houses for new inmates who may wish to make savings on their money and earnings. The kiosks keep this money for new inmates.

 Customer Response Service- this is a 24-hour customer response service by the IC Solutions. They assist in making payments and billing assistance.

 Voicemail services- for those inmates who may not access phones at the time calls are made can do it later since voice mail services provide alerts for missed calls.

 Interactive voice response- this platform provides responses to frequently asked questions for friends, inmates, and even family members. It is connected to the jails through a system referred to as the Jail Management System and can capture a myriad of information about inmates.

Types of Inmate Accounts Offered

Inmates are assisted to create a number of accounts connected to their phone and billing preferences. The prepaid account is created for users of cell phones and for those whose mobile phone numbers have spent more than their credit allows.The debit telephone account allows payments to be made and can connect to any numbers provided. Collect calling is a new type of account where an inmate can make a phone call to another number which is allowed within the facility. The line will be billed since every service for the used numbers are provided by IC Solutions.

IC Solutions Prepaid Purchase Options

One can purchase the prepaid services for the IS Solutions in the following ways:

 By phone calls to the number +1888 506 8407

 By logging online to the email icsonline.icsolutions.com

 By mail, if you want to make a purchase for a prepaid account using money order or a cheque.

Global Tel Link and Its Accomplishments

Global Tel Link, a subsidiary of GTEL Holdings, is a leading telecommunications company based in Reston, Virginia. Founded in 1980, the company provides integrated information technology solutions for the corrections market. It was formerly known as Global Tel Link Corporation and changed its name to Global Tel Link in May 1999. By 2015, Global Tel Link controlled approximately 50% of the Inmate Calling Services.


Global Tel Link’s Integrated Technology Solutions


Global Tel Link’s technology solutions are designed to provide facilities with improved efficiency and effectiveness when conducting various correctional practices. The solutions also allow correctional facilities to understand trends and patterns that would otherwise not be apparent, and take measures to maintain safety. These solutions include:


Facility Management Solutions – GTL’s enterprise management solutions are aimed at providing correctional facilities with enhanced levels of efficiency, safety, and control over the incarcerated. They include collecting and tracking inmate funds and providing correctional officers with access to inmate data among others.


Communications Solutions – communication is a critical component in any correctional facility. GTL provides a range of communication solutions that are designed to meet the most demanding prison conditions. Among these solutions are secure telephones, handheld devices, in-pod kiosks, offender management systems and virtual receptionists.


Investigative Solutions – Global Tel Link offers a suite of highly advanced investigative solutions that mine data to provide investigative staff with valuable information. These solutions comprise of field-tested technology that identify incriminating calls, reveal previously hidden activities and help investigators solve and prevent crimes.


Recently, Global Tel Link launched their industry leading product, Request2Call. The product enables inmate’s family members to use the GTL’s ConnectNetwork website or mobile apps to submit a call request to an inmate through the GTL Inspire tablet. To ensure a timely response, the status indicators inform the friend or family member of the inmate’s availability.


Global Tel-Link Expands Once Again

GTL is one of the largest phone service provider to prison facilities. The company has to provide phone services for inmates which allows them to keep in touch with their families and friends. The company continues to expand and gain even bigger scope in the industry which puts it ahead of most of its competitors. Its recent acquisition of Telmate, its former competitor, just confirms the strength that this global giant has and continues to enjoy. The industry is marred with a lot of competition which in turn tends to hinder the quality and cost of the service offered to inmates. This in a way could be the reason why the inmate calling service is expensive. The service quality is likely to improve with such acquisitions.


Telmate was one of the companies in the industry that was more innovative and creative in the packages that it provided for the correctional facilities. This means that GTL will benefit from this innovation now that the company has become part of its big umbrella.


Global Tel-link continues to provide these services to inmate families. With reduced competing companies, facilities have fewer choices to make when it comes to getting a company that would be willing to give a larger share to the facility. Inmates, on the other hand, have to manage with the services offered by the companies that keep them in touch with their families and loved ones when they are not free.


The acquisition of Telmate is a great addition to the company. It will help increase their chances of reaching out to more facilities around the globe. This means more profit or the company and more chances for them to influence the lives of inmates positively especially through the innovative technologies that Telmate comes in with. GTL will continue to soar and beat its competition.


IC Solutions: A Waste Of Time And Money

There are few things more frustrating in the world than wasting time and money. That is what is happening with people that are forced and I do mean forced to use IC Solutions. This company is supposed to allow inmates to connect with friends and family members while in prison. However, they don’t appear all that interested in doing that. They are very interested in wasting your time and your money, especially your money. If you are forced to deal with their customer service team, you better prepare to be dealing with people that do not have your best interests in mind.They are only company men and women that are used to confuse, frustrate, and generally annoy the customer to where they just give up and throw in the towel.

Here is the thing, however: people are incredibly resilient. They do not go down without a fight, especially when we are talking about a parent trying to reach their child. That is not something they are going to take lying down, even though IC Solutions would prefer if they would just go away. People are not going to go away when you take money from them and out of their pockets. They are going to fight back and they are going to fight back strong. They will not rest until they get what they have paid for, which is the right to speak to their child behind bars.Parents are strong people, especially when it comes to their own kids. They will lift cars and they will stop at nothing until they can hear their voice. IC Solutions has underestimated the power of American people, which is a grave mistake on their part. They have picked a fight they will lose before it’s all said and done.