View Full Version : GTL & recording phone calls...


Verbatim
04-16-2009, 04:14 PM
Ex-GTL employee. Have been reading some posts and wanted to point out a few things. Regarding phone call recordings. Yes they are all recorded, but nobody is sitting there listening to them all. And guards don't have access to your calls either. Only authorized admins at each facility. Each institution has a server with storage capacity onsite to record the calls. Once the server reaches a certain amount of drive space reached, calls are purged, oldest first.

GTL uses speech analytics with certain words set to flag a call for somebody at each institution to listen to. Nothing sexual or romantic is flagged. Words like 'escape, killing my cellmate, please bring me drugs'. Stuff like that are flagged. Calls are also flagged by priority as we all know that some words are used in common conversations and nothing is meant by saying it. 'Today I went to the drug-store to get some medicine' would be an example of a low priority flag.

Also an admin, warden at an institution can ask that an inmate's calls get flagged if they are involved with any kind of activity that is being investigated by the facility. Murder, Gang related, upcoming trails, things like that. Usually these calls are live monitored if needed.

GTL employees do have access to the calls, but usually only listen to them to troubleshoot issues with the server, and/or GTL customer service asks to verify if calls are taking place. Sometimes people call GTL and say that their account's funds have went down and no calls have taken place. Things like that.

LeBeau
04-16-2009, 04:26 PM
It may very well be true that GTL does not actively monitor calls in real time, but at ANY facility, prison staff can and might be listening in. The statement that COs cannot do so is NOT a universally accurate one.

Never think your call is private.

scoopster
04-16-2009, 04:46 PM
Thanks a lot for sharing this information. I have a the contract for Ohio. I saw that in there. You will get a lot of questions asked. Primarily about how to file complaints etc.

My questions, is what do you know regarding lawsuits? have any lawsuits been won againt GTL ? If so are they all settled out of court?

Next question applies to everyone, Ohio has a statute which puts a cap at $.34 cents a minute, and $2.50 surcharge. so you take .34 cents x 15 minutes, plus $2.50 surcharge equals which totals $7.60 maximum.

But some calls are exceeding this, therefore can you explain where all these additional hidden charges are coming from, like a second hand carrier or something else.
Plus teach us about out of state calls which sky rocket to $15-$20, and our state law is at $.55 cents.

Do GTL employees retaliate by taking peoples money, and deliberately blocking their account, like it is fun and games?
Does GTL have internal policies regarding this, and are they submitted to the utility commissions of each state?

Verbatim
04-16-2009, 05:00 PM
True LeBeau but just to let you know that GTL licenses their application. During a site install it will be decided upon who will have access and who can call in to Technical Support. If anybody other than an authorized employee called in, we could not help them at all. Even if a system was down and calls were not getting recorded. I remember that most facilities only received like maybe 3-5 licenses. Once to cover each shift, weekends and usually the warden, and a designated admin.

Also only one call can be live monitored at any time. So it is true that CO's if authorized can listen to calls live if an inmate is flagged. And they do have access to recorded calls to listen to at another time. But due to legal issues that might arise, logs are taken on both live and recorded calls, when listened to, and saved or emailed to a designated admin if requested.

Scoopster, I was part of the installation team / technical support for federal facilities so cannot answer any questions regarding prices or charges. I do know that GTL mostly settles lawsuits.

Verbatim
04-16-2009, 05:02 PM
Do GTL employees retaliate by taking peoples money, and deliberately blocking their account, like it is fun and games?
Does GTL have internal policies regarding this, and are they submitted to the utility commissions of each state?


GTL's customer service are overworked and underpaid. Plus like under any other call center environment you get your share of people who just don't give a crap. But yes they are supposed to adhere to laws of each state.

LeBeau
04-16-2009, 05:20 PM
Who cares who can call in for tech support?

My problem with your post is that it's simply not true that "only one call at a time" can be monitored- at least that's not true in CA, and there's no special requirement for which staff are authorized to do so- ANY sworn officer, as opposed to free staff, might be assigned that task.... and the inmate does not have to be "flagged".... random monitoring is very much permitted, at least in CA.

Please do not present as "facts" things that may not be true in all facilities or all states, you may have some very valuable info to share, but please do so responsibly.

SugarGirl
04-16-2009, 05:48 PM
Thanks for the info. I don't worry about our calls being recorded because there is nothing fishy going on during them. :)

SugarGirl
04-16-2009, 06:44 PM
verbatim, please understand that GTL is well hated around here. I don't know what your motive is for posting on this board but I'm certain it will take some time for folks to warm up to you unless you have a loved one in prison or something.

GTL is the debil around these parts.

What brings you to this messageboard, verbatim?

Verbatim
04-16-2009, 08:44 PM
LeBeau, well the fact that I worked for GTl up until February of this year, and unless technology has changed in the past 2 months for GTL, then yes, I can assure you that live monitoring is very limited. What part of GTL not wanting a lawsuit because every Dick and Tom wants to listen to every call do you not understand?

I come on here to dispell some myths, and you get an attitude? The software doesn't change from state to state. It is the same application. If CA chooses to purchase more license then so be it. I know for a fact that some facilities, federal of course, have up to 25-50 phones so if you think that they have 25-50 CO's listening to every call then you are mistaken.

And I don't care that GTL is hated. All companies are out to make a buck and do so accordingly. One of my clients right now is Securus and I know they do the same thing as GTL. Rip people off because they can. I am on this messageboard because I have a loved one going to prison and I wanted to dispell the fact that some people on here think that all their calls are listened to.

I am presenting 'facts' because I worked for GTL. It is your choice whether to believe them or not.

Thanks for the welcome! I appreciate it.

SugarGirl
04-16-2009, 08:46 PM
LeBeau, well the fact that I worked for GTl up until February of this year, and unless technology has changed in the past 2 months for GTL, then yes, I can assure you that live monitoring is very limited. What part of GTL not wanting a lawsuit because every Dick and Tom wants to listen to every call do you not understand?

I come on here to dispell some myths, and you get an attitude? The software doesn't change from state to state. It is the same application. If CA chooses to purchase more license then so be it. I know for a fact that some facilities, federal of course, have up to 25-50 phones so if you think that they have 25-50 CO's listening to every call then you are mistaken.

And I don't care that GTL is hated. All companies are out to make a buck and do so accordingly. One of my clients right now is Securus and I know they do the same thing as GTL. Rip people off because they can. I am on this messageboard because I have a loved one going to prison and I wanted to dispell the fact that some people on here think that all their calls are listened to.

I am presenting 'facts' because I worked for GTL. It is your choice whether to believe them or not.

Thanks for the welcome! I appreciate it.
Well, I appreciate your incite. No worries from me. :thumbsup:

Sorry to hear about your loved one going to prison. You will find a lot of support here.

South Bay
04-17-2009, 02:37 PM
In California in the 90’s, the CO’s (correctional officers) used to listen in to phone conversations so they could have a “handle” on what was going on in an institution. For instance, a CO in the gun tower would be monitoring up to six different phones at a time, and periodically switch between ongoing conversations. They even had the capability to interrupt the call and/or cut it off outright if they didn’t like the tone of the conversation (or for other reasons). Of course, this was in the days before digital recording and the easy storage of vast amounts of information, but the CDCR has probably continued the ability of certain CO’s to listen in on conversations in real time for “institutional security” or other reasons.

With respect to the storage of actual calls and related information, the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) is now investigating GTL for dropping thousands of inmate calls placed from the Miami-Dade County Jail from 2003-2005. The PSC had wanted to review some of those actual calls, but was told by GTL that the recordings had been destroyed. Specifically, the PSC found that:

Throughout this entire investigation covering almost four years, staff was informed by representatives of AT&T, Global [Tel Link], TCG, T-NETIX, or Evercom, that call detail records did not exist for calls placed by inmates from the Miami-Dade detention facilities. After TCG [a GTL subsidiary] submitted a settlement offer on September 10, 2007, staff placed a call to Securus, parent company of T-Netix and Evercom, via a phone number obtained from Securus’ website. The website indicated that Securus excels in maintaining records that can be quickly recovered and used by local, state and federal authorities to assist in criminal investigations and prosecutorial actions. It was from this phone call staff learned that call detail records for the Miami-Dade detention facilities did exist for the time period covered by the investigation.
(see attached PDF entitled FL PSC Memorandum, pages 7-8; or for further info about these ongoing proceedings, see http://www.psc.state.fl.us/dockets/cms/docketdetails.aspx?docket=060614 (http://www.psc.state.fl.us/dockets/cms/docketdetails.aspx?docket=060614)).

Well lo and behold, it turns out that GTL’s call recordings / call data from Miami-Dade in 2003-2005 actually were still available after 2007, and now the Florida PSC is fining GTL almost $1.3 million for lying to them and for willfully withholding the recordings for 1,266 days ($1,000 per day = $1,266,000) (plus mandating a refund of $6.3 million for dropped inmate calls).

GTL’s various contracts with prisons and jail systems dictate the level of call monitoring and call recording storage details. For instance, the LA County Jail contract with GTL specifies that:

“The Contractor [GTL] will provide System Administration Consoles at each Sheriff's Department custodial and detention facilities and Probation Department detention and camp facilities, for the purpose of monitoring and recording inmate phone calls.
. . .
The Contractor's automated operator inmate telephone system shall provide capability to archive and retrieve, in a timely manner, recorded inmate telephone calls. Once recorded, the content of the call must be stored for retrieval for a period of three (3) months, and the system must have the capability to transfer the recorded calls to off-line media for archiving, or review.
. . .
The Contractor shall describe their proposed inmate call archiving/retrieval system, assuming that the recorded inmate calls are to be stored off-line, archived after ninety (90) days."

So Verbatim is correct when he or she states that “Each institution has a server with storage capacity onsite to record the calls. Once the server reaches a certain amount of drive space reached, calls are purged, oldest first." But after that time, GTL can (and in the case of both Miami-Dade and LA County, does) transfer the call detail records to an offsite storage location for archiving and later retrieval, if needed.

Perhaps someone who has reviewed the GTL CDCR contract can post information concerning the current listening and monitoring policies, and also specific information on the retention of call recordings.

South Bay

South Bay
04-19-2009, 02:23 AM
LeBeau, well the fact that I worked for GTl up until February of this year, and unless technology has changed in the past 2 months for GTL, then yes, I can assure you that live monitoring is very limited. What part of GTL not wanting a lawsuit because every Dick and Tom wants to listen to every call do you not understand?

I come on here to dispell some myths, and you get an attitude? The software doesn't change from state to state. It is the same application. If CA chooses to purchase more license then so be it. I know for a fact that some facilities, federal of course, have up to 25-50 phones so if you think that they have 25-50 CO's listening to every call then you are mistaken.

And I don't care that GTL is hated. All companies are out to make a buck and do so accordingly. One of my clients right now is Securus and I know they do the same thing as GTL. Rip people off because they can. I am on this messageboard because I have a loved one going to prison and I wanted to dispell the fact that some people on here think that all their calls are listened to.

I am presenting 'facts' because I worked for GTL. It is your choice whether to believe them or not.

Thanks for the welcome! I appreciate it.

Upon further investigation of the CDCR’s inmate telephone system, I’ve found clear evidence to fully substantiate LeBeau’s assertion that numerous CDCR staff can (and most certainly do) listen in on inmate telephone conversations.

The present GTL contract, in relevant part provides that:

“S.10.1.1 The (IWTS) shall have the capability of monitoring inmate/ward telephone conversations in progress over an intercom monitoring system and a monitoring workstation.

S.10.2.1 The IWTS contractor shall be responsible for providing and installing up to [I]five workstations at each of the correctional facilities and locations covered by this contract. . . . The State may require additional workstations at some correctional facilities.

S.10.3.1 The IWTS shall provide State staff the capability to audibly monitor inmate/ward calls in progress. The State will provide its staff with this capability in various offices, towers, control centers, and other locations throughout each correctional facility.

S.10.3.6 The intercom monitoring system equipment shall have the capability to monitor at least thirty-two (32) conversations at any one time from a single location.

S.10.3.7 The number of intercom monitoring systems within each institution can range from 1 to 32 separate stations.”

(http://www.dts.ca.gov/pdf/stnd/payphone/iwts/Attachment6B.pdf (http://www.dts.ca.gov/pdf/stnd/payphone/iwts/Attachment6B.pdf)).

Further, in 2004 the CDCR stated in a “Request for Proposal” (RFP) that:

“The 32 CDC institutions, currently have Global Tel*Link LazerPhone (GTL) or Value-Added Communications (VAC) equipment that are used by the investigators to monitor and record inmate calls. The monitoring and recording systems enable correctional officers to listen to, interrupt, and terminate inmate conversations. This equipment has the capability of turning on and off ALL institution inmate phones.

The CDC institutions also have Augat intercom Monitoring Systems that are installed in several locations within the institution such as housing units, observation towers, etc. This equipment allows custody staff to listen, in realtime, to inmate telephone conversations, interrupt, and terminate calls. This equipment also has the capability of turning on and off designated inmate phones.”

(http://www.dts.ca.gov/pdf/stnd/payphone/iwts/RFP3037.pdf (http://www.dts.ca.gov/pdf/stnd/payphone/iwts/RFP3037.pdf), displayed PDF page 63 [section 3 – page 8]; see also PDF page 68 [section 3 – page 13] for chart showing each institution’s total number of inmate phones and Intercom Monitoring Systems*).

(*For instance, the Substance Abuse Training Facility has 181 inmate phones served by 26 separate Intercom Monitoring Systems, which presumably require many staff members to monitor at any one time.)

Piecing together information from the above GTL contract and CDCR RFP confirms that the monitoring is accomplished on a real-time basis with up to five (or more) main “Monitoring Workstations” authorized for each institution. Each of these workstations in turn, apparently oversee the various “Intercom Monitoring Systems” at which CDCR staff are allowed to monitor the conversations “in various offices, towers, control centers, and other locations throughout each correctional facility,” with each location having the “capability to monitor at least thirty-two (32) conversations at any one time from a single location.”

Thus, in order for CDCR staff to effectively monitor all the inmate telephone conversations simultaneously occurring in an institution, there would have to be numerous staff authorized to perform these tasks at the various stations located throughout the institution. There is simply no other way to accomplish the real-time monitoring of inmate phone conversations.

In sum, the sheer number of authorized CDCR inmate phones (over 2300 in 2004) and corresponding number of monitoring systems and workstations would require that hundreds of different CDCR staff at each institution have the authority to listen in on inmate conversations. That is a far cry from the 1-5 per institution postulated in the above PTO post.

South Bay

LeBeau
04-19-2009, 08:43 AM
I never said every call *WAS* being monitored- I said every call was *subject to monitoring*, whether or not the inmate was flagged, or under investigation or whatever other language suggests heightened attention, and that no one should ever assume that their call was in any way private.... which is true.

only1love
04-21-2009, 02:56 PM
Originally Posted by Verbatim http://www.prisontalk.com/forums/pto/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://www.prisontalk.com/forums/showthread.php?p=4585919#post4585919)
LeBeau, well the fact that I worked for GTl up until February of this year, and unless technology has changed in the past 2 months for GTL, then yes, I can assure you that live monitoring is very limited. What part of GTL not wanting a lawsuit because every Dick and Tom wants to listen to every call do you not understand?

I come on here to dispell some myths, and you get an attitude? The software doesn't change from state to state. It is the same application. If CA chooses to purchase more license then so be it. I know for a fact that some facilities, federal of course, have up to 25-50 phones so if you think that they have 25-50 CO's listening to every call then you are mistaken.

And I don't care that GTL is hated. All companies are out to make a buck and do so accordingly. One of my clients right now is Securus and I know they do the same thing as GTL. Rip people off because they can. I am on this messageboard because I have a loved one going to prison and I wanted to dispell the fact that some people on here think that all their calls are listened to.

I am presenting 'facts' because I worked for GTL. It is your choice whether to believe them or not.

Thanks for the welcome! I appreciate it.

I find this fascinating! My fiance was in a place that had GTL as the provider, however, when he was moved to federal prison, GTL told me that they do not have the contract for federal facilities, and in California, that is true. Federal prisons have something else and it is not GTL.
Also when I used to have to use GTL, they decided when and how long I could talk to my man, which was not consistent with the policies of the facility, and not disclosed up front. I do not feel that it was any of their business how often I spoke to him! If my bill was paid, and it was, what right do they have to ration my phone time? And then to be told, " Well just don't talk to him so much" is horrible!
You may regret disclosing that you are/were an employee of GTL because I do not think you can convince us of their "position"

Daniel Horowitz
05-21-2009, 11:24 PM
that the way to look up jail phone recordings that were made in the past is by the telephone number that was dialed out by the particular inmate.

I think he is not accurate but that is what he claimed in court papers today.

Daniel Horowitz
***Removed per policy***