GTL, one of the prison communications industry‘s minor players, was recently taken to task by its larger competitor, Securus Technologies. Securus issued a challenge for GTL and itself to engage in a technological showdown. Securus suggested that the two companies pit their respective video visitation technologies against one another, to be judged by a third party. Despite the level-playing-field offer from Securus, GTL flatly declined to participate. Securus interpreted this to be vindication of its products and a de facto admission on the part of GTL that its video visitation technology is subpar.
Saving inmates money and generating income for prisons
Since its rollout over a decade ago, Securus’ video visitation software has proven enormously successful. This is due to its dual purpose of serving the inmates themselves as well as serving the needs of the institutions that employ it.
The video visitation system is capable of saving inmates and their families thousands of dollars per year while extending them the capability to stay in nearly uninterrupted contact with each other. This unprecedented level of communications capability between inmates and the outside world has materially contributed to a reduction in disciplinary actions and recidivism in prisons that have installed Securus’ system.
However, the institutions themselves also stand to gain, often handsomely. This is because the jails and prisons where the system is installed typically get to keep a fraction of the cost of every phone call. What’s brilliant about video visitation is that it is actually creating demand that simply didn’t exist before. This is due to the reductions in cost but also to the fact that the technology itself allows for a new means of communication between inmates and loved ones that simply wasn’t possible before. In some cases, these added fees from video visitations can amount to tens of thousands of dollars per year.