RESTON, Va., Jan. 11, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- GTL, an innovation leader in correctional technology and payment services solutions for government, today announced a range of 2016 achievements across multiple areas of the company's business.
"GTL continued last year to make major investments in our people, technology, patents, infrastructure, and the communities we serve. This was reflected in the many accomplishments of 2016 and will also lead to exciting advances in products in 2017 that increase safety and security and provide our customers with better tools for effective rehabilitation and successful reentry, which reduces recidivism," said Brian Oliver, GTL CEO.
"2016 was what I would characterize as the 'year of product deployment'," said Jeff Haidinger, President and COO at GTL. "We processed billions of minutes of inmate phone calls – including over 12 million minutes on Christmas Day alone – connecting inmates with their families." This past year, GTL deployed over 1,000 Flex® Link multi-service kiosks, providing communications and self-service functionality for inmates and increasing the efficiency of our customers' operations. Over 5 million visits were arranged through GTL's market-leading visitation scheduling software, eliminating wait times for friends and family members to see their loved ones and helping to clear crowded facility lobbies, which only increased security in facilities nationwide.
"Our government payment services division is now collecting child support payments in 10 states, thereby enabling custodial parents to receive funds faster in order to provide for their families. To support those making government-mandated payments or, on the corrections side, consumers making inmate phone deposits or sending money to incarcerated loved ones, we have now installed many hundreds of conveniently located payment and deposit kiosks across the country," added Mr. Haidinger.
This was also a big year for new GTL product releases for facility customers and their inmates. "The five layers of security we have built into our inmate tablet product are driving their acceptance into more correctional institutions. With the security of the devices proven, GTL has focused on new service additions to our Inspire® inmate tablet, starting with a comprehensive educational offering including a learning management system to track an inmate's progress and provide customized content based on their current grade level," stated Tim Skaja, Senior Vice President of Product Management & Service Delivery at GTL. "We also introduced the first corrections-grade streaming music service in the market, added subscription-based e-books and games, and also introduced a next-generation tablet – Inspire 1.5," concluded Mr. Skaja.
Friends and family members also benefited from our innovations this year. "GTL relaunched ConnectNetwork, its friends and family member website," said Steve Montanaro, Vice President, Consumer Channels at GTL. The relaunch of ConnectNetwork has provided users with a better, faster, and easier online experience, including improved mobile phone applications for Android and iOS mobile devices, a mobile messaging app, and payment and deposit features for those on the go. "We also gave correctional facilities more tools to control deposits and detect fraud by introducing a new and improved ConnectNetwork Facility Portal, which GTL launched for facility staff on December 15," added Mr. Montanaro.
GTL signed the contract and began implementation of its GTL Offender Management System (OMS) with the Harris County Sheriff's Office in Houston, Texas, which is the third-largest sheriff's office in the United States. GTL's OMS will manage over nine thousand inmates on a daily basis, helping the agency streamline operations from booking through release. "This brings our deployments of OMS to well over 300 facilities representing the largest percentage of inmates housed in county-managed and privately operated correctional facilities. GTL's OMS also became available on General Services Administration (GSA) IT Schedule 70 this year. With this, government-operated corrections facilities at the federal, state, and local levels can achieve greater efficiency and reduce costs by following a simplified procurement process to acquire our OMS," stated John Lowry, Senior Product Manager for OMS at GTL.
GTL's premier annual customer event, the User Group Conference, held in Nashville, Tennessee, was the most well-attended customer event in company history. "With hundreds of attendees, the customer interaction and feedback we received was extremely helpful in determining the direction that we will take our products in the future," said Anthony Bambocci, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at GTL.
Serious investments were also made by GTL into combatting contraband cell phones in facilities using the company's blended technologies approach, which combines a number of technologies and investigative forensic tools. "Managed access systems are also part of our approach, and we deployed three times more of these systems than anyone else in our industry. Every week our managed access systems block more than 350,000 illicit inmate phone calls and texts that originate from dangerous contraband cell phones, and we have protected the public in the process. The blended technologies approach evolved from our many years of expertise in deploying managed access and recognizing that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to this problem," said Mitch Volkart, Product Manager for Intelligence Tools at GTL.
At the start of 2016, GTL made a commitment to formalize corporate giving opportunities and increase employee volunteerism efforts nationwide by developing its Give To Live initiative. In 2016, GTL contributed a corporate match to all Give To Live team donations made to the American Cancer Society's Making Strides program. "The success of these efforts has been personally rewarding," said Teresa Ridgeway, Senior Vice President at GTL. "Although the coordination of nationwide volunteerism is important for us, we are firmly committed to supporting local programs so we can give back to the communities where we work and live."
GTL employees in the South rallied to deliver much needed survival supplies to victims of the floods in Louisiana. Additionally, GTL provided sponsorship for several Ronald McDonald House fundraising events. During the recent holiday season, each GTL office chose a children's charitable organization and provided gifts to programs including Prison Fellowship Ministries' Angel Tree program, the Scottish Rite Hospital, the St Mary's Children's Home, and Toys for Tots, to name a few. Mrs. Ridgeway added, "We are looking forward to finding more ways to give back in 2017. It is an exciting time for GTL in so many ways."
"While we made investments in technology and infrastructure, GTL could never have realized all of these accomplishments without investing in the right people. We renewed our focus on providing them with the tools they need to get the job done such as new education and training programs as well as opportunities to achieve security and engineering certifications. We also added some bright new talent to supplement our established team. Their hard work throughout the year was the catalyst for everything we attained. I am excited about the expertise that we have brought on board and look forward to the products, technology, and services GTL will bring to our current and new customers in 2017 with this experienced team," concluded Mr. Oliver.
GTL leads the fields of correctional technology and government payment services with visionary solutions and customized products that integrate seamlessly to deliver security, financial value, and ease of operation for our customers. As a trusted industry leader, GTL provides service to 85 percent of inmates nationwide, including service to 30 state departments of corrections, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and 73 of the 100 largest city/county facilities, including 39 of the top 50. GTL is headquartered in Reston, Virginia, and maintains several regional offices across the country. To learn more about GTL, please visit www.gtl.net or our social media sites on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
GTL's ConnectNetwork is the one-stop resource for friends and family members to connect with their incarcerated loved ones. Friends and family can deposit money into an inmate's accounts, schedule and conduct video visits, and send messages. To learn more about ConnectNetwork, please visit www.connectnetwork.com. You can also view us on Facebook and Twitter.
Press Contact: Vinnie Mascarenhas