Common products in our society consist of the most basic amenities we have for our daily civilization. Civilization creates an outstanding world of commerce that both private and public establishments benefit from. The private industry, however, is an industry that models the public sector and offers a selection of goods that resembles public life.
Public life is a civil place where the rights and liberty of democratic nations provide citizens with an uninhabited and unrestricted life. Public life is free and open to a variety of experiences a person can chose to have without resistance. The private sector of world economies are different. The United States is a perfect example of a nation that relies on the private sector and when it mimics the public side.
The Dynamic Of A Private And Public Industry
The dynamic of these two industries are separated by a minor detail. Whereas the public side is open to experience, the private sector is usually guarded in a way that limits the freedoms you have. We often see this in the lives of detained criminals and military personnel. This dynamic brought by a private industry enables one business to stand as a prominent factor in the United States government.
The Keefe Group is a large manufacturer that caters to the USA’s need for private-sector security. What’s really interesting is that the Keefe Group is a manufacturer of common goods. These are goods like soap, shoes and underwear. The protection needed on these items is found in the simple concept of consolidation. Offering a variety to the United States enables Keefe to be a sole provider.
The Ground Held By The Keefe Group
The foundation of the Keefe Group is built on its position as a sole provider. The agency moves over 2,000 products and services roughly 2 million consumers on a weekly basis. This is only a small glimpse into the substantial ground held by the Keefe Group. The agency’s ability to consolidate different, common goods gives it the right standing as a sole supplier to the United States government.
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.
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.
Although the last episode of Serial has been released on podcast, many listeners remain unfamiliar with the brand name heard in every episode. Global Tel-Link is unconcerned they have lost the free advertising because name recognition is not a factor in the field of inmate communications. Every episode began with the same theme music, and announcement regarding a call from Adnan Syed using Global Tel-Link.
Despite this, without Global Tel-Link, and prison communications, Serial would be either nonexistent, or quite different. Prison visits do not allow the use of any recording devices, so the series was based on taped phone interviews. Making a phone call from prison is extremely expensive, but the connections the call represents are critical for the inmates. Inmates able to remain in touch with their families during incarceration are more likely to live a life free of crime once they are released. According to a calculation by Bloomberg Businessweek, the phone calls made in Serial totaled approximately forty hours, and the cost in the real world would have exceeded $2,500.
The question is how that large of a phone bill could exist, and the answer is based on the United States prison’s highest rates for inmate calls. This amounts to a cost for the first minute of $3.95, and additional minutes costing 89 cents. Although there are differences in prison contracts, the bidding of inmate phone service is opposite of the way contracts through the government are meant to work. These contracts are not given to the lowest bidder, but instead to the bidder offering the biggest revenue share made by the phone company to the jail, or prison. These rates have an unbelievable 96 percent of the revenue going straight to the jails, and prisons. Some states have banned this practice, and there is an investigation being conducted by the Federal Communications Commission.
For as long as private contractors have been involved in the prison industrial complex, there’s been a great deal of controversy regarding the role that these companies should play, if they should play any role at all. However, today’s U.S. prison industry is a surprisingly competitive environment. Companies compete for billions of dollars annually, oftentimes on surprisingly low profit margins that require them to cater to the inmates to the best of their abilities.
Nowhere is this truer then in the case of prison communication services. In the United States today, two companies dominate the prison communication space. One is Securus Technologies, a company founded in the early 2000’s that has been dedicated to creating high-tech solutions for inmate communications throughout the nation’s prisons. The other company is Global Tel Link, which is now the largest prison communications provider in the country, accounting for more than 50 percent of all outgoing communications made from the nation’s prisons by inmates.
Although many critics of Global Tel Link claim that it has gotten to its current position through sweetheart deals and enticing prison staff and management with what are described as legal kickbacks, the truth is that Global Tel Link has arrived at its position through delivering superior calling services to the nation’s inmates.
Across the prisons where Global Tel Link does business, the average cost of an outgoing phone call is around $0.15 per minute. At these rates, inmates are able to stay in constant touch with their family members, leading to the maintenance of strong relationships and giving them hope through a difficult time in their lives.
Global Tel Link also generates tremendous revenues for the institutions in which it operates. In 2016 alone, Global Tel Link was responsible for generating over $500 million in commissions for the institutions where it is a provider. This provides crucial revenues that allow these institutions to remain safe and secure.
Telmate Communications has been one of the most trusted names in the inmate communication sector for long. The company offers its services to more than 300 correctional facilities in Canada and the United States. Its services have been making a huge difference in the lives of the prisoners and the law enforcement officers as well. However, it has been seen that the company hasn’t been able to catch up with the progress that the correctional industry has made in the last few years. Their services are far from satisfactory and have been miserably annoying its customers, who have been sharing their experiences online. It is difficult to see why a well-known and established company would stall its progress at a time when the industry is in its most lucrative curve.
The field of inmate communications has fast grown into becoming a full-fledged industry. However, the company hasn’t been able to keep up with the fast-moving industry, or so it seems. There have been a lot of negative reviews doing rounds on the internet about the inferior quality of Telmate’s inmate communication services, and how the company has been charging the customers wrongfully on their credit cards. Many customers have even filed lawsuits against the company as they were fed up with the non-responsive customer service of the company.
I was incarcerated a little more than a year back, and since then I have been using the Telmate’s phone services as there are no other service providers in the region. I didn’t face any problems in the beginning, but in the last couple of months, I have been frustrated with their services. The company had charged my credit card twice in the last few weeks when I was trying to refill my account balance. And, even though the refill happened just once, the amount was deducted twice. I tried contacting the customer care of the company, but they are refusing to refund me in the bank, and are saying that they would be given free credit balance. I don’t understand why they would refuse to pay me the amount when the mistake is theirs. I am not in a position to file a lawsuit against them else I surely would have.
When someone gets sent to prison, he or she wants to stay in contact with their friends and loved ones. There is a good reason for a prison or any correctional facility to allow this privilege. Offenders who stay in touch with the outside world are less likely to offend. Multiple stories have shown this. Despite the results of multiple studies, correctional facilities continue to use companies like Global Tel Link and its competitors. GlobalTel is known for charging exorbitant rates on its collect calls, according to vice.com. Inmates can pay for these calls using their funded accounts, but these accounts are often funded by family members.
Intrastate calls can cost up to one dollar per minute or more if they are made from correctional facilities. The FCC attempted to regulate the industry at the beginning of 2015, but GlobalTel managed to block part of the ban. Interstate calls made by inmates are capped at twenty-five centers per minute.
Inmate advocacy groups work to correct this situation, but the families of the inmates continue to suffer. The inmate advocacy groups face a largely apathetic public who views the primary captive customers of the inmate communications industry as criminals who deserve punishment. Few seem to notice that the privatized prison system and companies like GlobalTel are punishing the families of the inmates.
Until the situation changes, GlobalTel will continue to charge the families of prisoners high rates for intrastate collect calls. Prisons receive a commission from the company, and the competition focuses on providing prisons with the best rates. The prisoners have no choice but to use these companies, and if they want to stay in touch with their families, they must use the systems provided by their correctional facility.
Imagine your children really wish to speak to their father. Now, think about what you would be willing to give to make that phone call happen. For example, would you be willing to skip a car payment? Would you be willing to slice the grocery bill in half? These may seem like silly questions, but they are real questions for families all across America. This is all because of a company named Global Tel-Link.
Global Tel-Link is a communications company that has made generous donations to prisons. Since politicians are loathe to raise taxes, prisons are more than happy to accept this extra cash. These donations then help Global Tel-Link secure exclusive contracts with prisons. Protected by the contracts, Global Tel-Link can then get away with charging the friends and families of prisoners up to $1.25 a minute to make a single phone call to a loved one behind bars. The contracts also allow Global Tel-Link to spring numerous fees on their customers. All of this money adds up to a devastating monthly phone bill.
Many friends and family members of prisoners are already below the poverty line. This means the phone bills delivered by Global Tel-Link force people to make difficult choices. For example, Christmas and birthdays are difficult for the friends and families of prisoners. In order to afford to make a phone call on these special days, sacrifices in other areas of life need to be made. This means a child’s only present on these days is often a single phone call that simply makes the executives at Global Tel-Link richer.
It shouldn’t to be this way for families all across America. Take the time to educate yourself about Global Tel-Link and their business model. If more people become informed about this issue, it will eventually change for the better.
An individual in Texas is very unhappy with the phone services they received from Global Tel-Link. They claim they were told PCS is fraudulent only to discover they are the same company as Global Tel-Link. The individual is disgusted by the hidden fees and how money disappears in just one phone call. This individual attempted to close his account as his niece had been released and was threatened. Due to the procedures of his bank Global Tel-Link was proclaimed legitimate and more money disappeared from his account.
After all the fees had cleared he was still missing fifty dollars only to find out when his daughter was again arrested the money was still in his Global Tel-Link account. He claims the company is a fraud, sanctioned by the government, and a monopoly. As a writer, he plans to harass both Congress and his senator until reform becomes a reality. He feels they do not care about the families and are punishing them for the sins of the inmates. He feels he has been ripped off and this is causing his niece excessive suffering.
Although he desperately wants to help his niece he is tired of being played by Global Tel-Link. He feels taking advantage of families with loved ones in prison is despicable and does not know how families without money communicate with inmates. He does not understand how they can fight for what is right without any resources. This individual stated he is ashamed of America because the country is not showing any compassion for the poor and believes people will be subject to despair. He is encouraging anyone in this situation to speak up and fight and cautions if this is not done people will fail their children. He does not believe Global Tel-Link even pays taxes and is demanding changes in the system.
Global Tel is nothing more than a company that likes to rip people off. It takes money that it really doesn’t need from people because it charges exorbitant rates that allow the company to stay in business. The money that the company does make is likely given to the prisons that it works with most of the time because facilities enter into contracts with this company and others that are similar. It’s a wreck of people who try to answer phone calls and think that they are giving you information but are simply trying to get you off the phone.
I’ve called customer service so many times and have been hung up on and given rude answers almost every time I call. It’s like the company doesn’t want people to know what it’s doing, but it wants you to be able to accept phone calls from inmates at the same time. There are times when I’ve wanted to add a certain amount of money and have been told that I can only add an amount that they approve instead of what I’m able to pay. This isn’t the way to grow a business. It’s a way to lose business and go bankrupt if more people would stand up to them.