Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

NEWS RELEASE

 

March 4, 2010

For Immediate Release

 

MEDIA ADVISORY

CONTACT:  Julie Walburn
DRC Bureau of Communications

(614) 752-1150

DRC Enhances Communication Between Inmates and their Support Systems,
While Providing Convenience

As a part of the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction's (DRC) commitment to maintaining positive, support relationships between inmates and their family and friends, the agency is announcing increased options for telephone communication and depositing of funds into personal accounts for inmates in Ohio's prisons

The first enhancement will allow inmates to directly pay for telephone calls by debiting his or her personal prison account.  Previously, offenders were only able to telephone those family and friends who were able to directly pay for the calls they wish to make, using monies earned through their prison work assignment or funds deposited into their personal or telephone debit account.

The benefits of the telephone debit calling option include: a reduced burden on family and friends related to paying for collect phone calls, an additional choice for the offender when placing the phone call, and a discounted rate compared to collect phone calls. The debit calling option will adhere to existing security policies for inmate telephone calls, limiting contact to only those individuals on the inmate's approved telephone list who agree to accept calls.

In addition to the new telephone debit program, DRC is making available three new ways for friends and family to deposit funds into their incarcerated loved one's accounts.  Already activated is a TouchPay website that will accept deposits.  DRC is also installing kiosks in the lobbies of each prison to allow visitors a quick and easy method to deposit money into an inmate's personal and/or telephone debit account. Additionally, family and friends may make deposits via a toll-free telephone number. Deployment of the TouchPay website, toll-free telephone line, and easy-to-use kiosks will offer quick and convenient options for placing deposits into the offender's account, in lieu of mailing deposits through the postal service.  The kiosks also provide the convenience of combining an approved visit and making a deposit in one trip to a DRC facility. Both methods will accept credit and check cards, and the kiosks will accept cash, providing family and friends several convenient options.

Director Ernie L. Moore promotes the benefit of the new services, stating "DRC understands that an inmate's supportive relationships play a vital role in their rehabilitation and preparation for successful reentry into Ohio's communities. We continue to look for secure and responsible ways to enhance those relationships and provide convenience to the family and friends who support their loved ones in prison."

Global Tel*Link (GTL), DRC's offender telephone service provider since 1989, will integrate these capabilities into the existing telephone system, with no cost to the agency. The enhanced services will be available at all DRC facilities by the end of March.  Jeff Haidinger, President of Global Tel*Link described these new capabilities as "GTL's way of addressing DRC's efforts to best serve the people that use our telephone service.  We find we are constantly enhancing and refining our relationship with DRC beyond the traditional vendor role to something that anticipates and accomplishes DRC's broader needs."

DRC's commitment to enhancing services that support positive relationships between inmates and their family and friends will continue in the coming months.  GTL will be installing video visitation systems at select DRC facilities in the near future. We will release more details about this exciting new program shortly.