The Mass Incarceration Telecommunications Industry

phonesFrom a Nation on the booming business of privatized prison profiteering:

The calls were expensive, more than a dollar per minute. In order to accept one, I had to set up a prepaid account with Global Tel* Link, or GTL, “The Next Generation of Correctional Technology.” If Tim called and my account was out of money, the automated voice would prompt me to replenish it via credit card, while he waited on the other line. “By accepting an inmate call, you acknowledge and agree that your conversation may be monitored and recorded,” the company advises.

For Tim’s relatives, this had been their reality for years. GTL makes more than $500 million a year exploiting families like his, who face the choice between paying exorbitant phone rates to keep in touch with incarcerated loved ones—up to $1.13 per minute—or simply giving up on regular phone calls. Like many other telecommunications companies that enjoy profitable monopolies on prison and jail contracts across the country, GTL wins its contracts by offering a kickback—or “commission”—to the prison or jail systems it serves.

As an exhaustive 2011 study in Prison Legal News explained, the kickback is “based on a percentage of the gross revenue generated by prisoners’ phone calls…. [The] commissions dwarf all other considerations and are a controlling factor when awarding prison phone contracts.


3 Comments on "The Mass Incarceration Telecommunications Industry"

  1. BuzzCoastin | Oct 17, 2013 at 6:12 pm |

    the extent of greed and avarice knows know bounds in Der Homeland

  2. Conspiracy Carrot | Oct 17, 2013 at 11:20 pm |

    Rehabilitation, right? Treat ’em like animals so they’ll learn their lesson, right? Milk their suffering families for every penny, right? What’s wrong with this planet?

  3. Calypso_1 | Oct 18, 2013 at 1:51 pm |

    I know a character in this business. In addition to owning conservative AM radio & televangelist broadcast stations, he literally dresses like JD Hog, keeps his thumbs in his lapels & always has a stogie. Old money, lives in a plantation house & there are lots of folks in the county less ‘melanin challenged’ w/ the same last name.

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