Me and my fellow corrections officers have to really be working tirelessly in order to keep our facility safe. It does not take much for an inmate to identify weakness and then start creating a very dangerous environment for all inside our jail. What we were discovering was that even with a strong presence of police inside the center where visitors and inmates meet, somehow drugs were getting to the hands of the inmates.
My team was instructed to start paying closer attention to how the inmates and visitors interacted, then physically checking each before and after each visit. If we missed finding anything on the visitors, we should be able to find it on the inmates when they were done with their visit. To really tighten up things, we would even do several surprise cell inspections after the visits to try and take down anything that could have slipped between the cracks.
Despite those efforts, drug use was on the rise inside the jail. We were given a new resource in our battle on drugs by way of Securus Technologies. This company is headed by CEO Rick Smith, and the objective of this company is to make the world safer for all. Having placed the inmate call monitoring system in thousands of prisons, we knew we had something that should be able to help clamp down on the problem.
What we eventually discovered when we began using the LBS software far exceeded anything we thought we could find. Whenever the software alerted my team of chatter concerning drugs, it always centered around coming to the jail in a certain way. What we discovered was that we had a corrupt staff member among us, and he was responsible for allowing the safety of all to be compromised for financial gain by turning a blind eye to inmates getting drugs from visitors.
Over the last 10 years, one of the most impressive developments within the United States prison system has been the advent of video visitation technology. These systems are often based on a VoIP, a protocol of internet telephony that allows for calls to be placed that are both extremely high quality and very cheap.
With video visitation, this technology has been taken to the next level, allowing for inmates to maintain almost constant daily face time with their loved ones on the outside. This is had a number of positive benefits, both on the institutions and on the inmates themselves. But perhaps the greatest contribution of the video visitation system has been its proven ability to reduce recidivism and create more well-socialized inmates who are capable of successfully reintegrating into society upon the completion of their sentences.
But there are many other, smaller benefits that video visitation confers upon the institutions in which it is installed. One of those is the dramatic reduction of in-person visitations. Long the Achilles heel of prison security protocol, in-person visitations create an opportunity for those on the outside to pass contraband into the hands of inmates. These include drugs, weapons and even cash. This has long presented one of the most serious threats to the ongoing safety and efficiency of America’s penal institutions.
But with video visitation, inmates and their family members no longer have the need to meet each other in person. With high-quality, high-definition displays, video visitation provides an experience that is comparable to that of in-person visitation but without any of the added cost or risks that the latter imply.
Another direct benefit of video visitation being used to replace the traditional in-person visitation is the fact that inmates no longer have to be physically moved throughout the prison itself. This has also long been a point of conflict, bringing gang members into territory that they don’t control and potentially creating the conditions for attacks on officers and other inmates.
One of the most important aspects of a prison is visitation. Visitation takes place in many forms these days. There is the standard visitation where a loved one travels to the prison in order to physically visit with the prisoner. This type of visitation is actually falling out of fashion. Many prisoners are kept across state forcing the visitor to drive hours just to see their loved ones. Once there, the visitor must jump through more hoops. There is the issue of parking, the security check and the wait room.
Visitors are relying more on phone calls and video chats for visitation. It allows them to save time, money and embarrassment. Statistics show that phone calls and video chats help to reduce recidivism. Apparently, a prisoner that is well connected to the outside world is much less likely to commit more crimes in the future.
That’s all good news for Securus. Securus is a telecommunications company that deals exclusively with prisons and jails across the country. If a prisoner wants to contact the outside world, they must use this company’s services. And that is good news.
Not only does Securus treat the prisoners well, they also record every call and video chat made in a prison that they serve. The digital information is then logged and stored because, often times, there is actionable intelligence buried in the data. Prisoners plan crimes over the phone. Sometimes they do it bluntly, but most of the time they use code.
If law enforcement catches wind of any plans, they can turn to the database. Using Securus software, they can comb the entire database for a single target’s voice. Everything ever uttered by that person is then brought up on screen for scrutiny. It seems that Securus is reducing crime in all sorts of ways.
Securus Technologies specializes in solutions to protect the public, investigate and provide monitoring in corrections facilities. They are challenging their main competitor GTL. The challenge is to have an independent technology judge make the determination as to who has the best products.
Richard Smith, the CEO at Securus believes GTL has played with the facts in saying their technologies are equal. He wants this impartial evaluation because he believes their investments, acquisitions, product development and technologies are superior. He says the technology platforms used by GTL are much older, not nearly as efficient, have less features and do not have systems for central processing and storage. Securus also has a larger base of useful services for the corrections field. They have their own call center they staff themselves and their call performance beats GTL by 600%.
The Internet Protocol for Voice Over Securus created is the biggest platform anywhere in the world. Their customers are provided with software updates on a regular basis for a much lower cost than GTL. Their systems are faster than GTL’s and all of this has been corroborated by customers who have used both systems. The technology of Securus is just more advanced.
In the category of messaging Securus earns $4.00 in revenue for every dollar earned by GTL. Customers have stated they prefer Securus over GTL three to one. It is for all of these reasons Securus hopes GTL will accept their challenge. They have stated if they were in GTL’s place they would politely decline the challenge because they know they will not win. If both companies platforms are examined in detail Securus comes out way ahead in calling platforms, scalability, IT resource, calling platforms, technology, investments and the capabilities of their products. Simply put, according to Smith Securus Technologies puts their money behind their words.