New Inmate Phone System will Lower Prices, Increase Security, Save Administration Costs, and Provide Upgraded Technology.
The Oregon Department of Corrections has selected Telmate, an Oregon-based inmate communications company, to upgrade the department’s inmate phone system. Telmate is scheduled to replace all inmate phone equipment, install payment kiosks, and provide an entirely new investigation system by July 1, 2012. Telmate was selected over five other vendors as part of a competitive RFP bidding process.
Telmate currently provides similar phone services to around 200 facilities in 41 US states and Canada, including Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities, Montana Department of Corrections prisons, and all correctional facilities in Alberta and Saskatchewan provinces. Within Oregon, Telmate currently provides inmate phone services for Baker County, Curry County, Coos County, Deschutes County, Malheur County, Marion County, Tillamook County, Washington County and will soon begin services in Clackamas County. In the Pacific Northwest, Telmate provides inmate phone services to more than 30 counties.
“We couldn’t be more excited to be selected to provide such an important service to our home state,” said Telmate president and co-founder, Kevin O’Neil. “It’s a significant contract for us, and it’s already resulted in over a dozen new positions in our Oregon-based call center, as well as several more positions across the state. We are proud to be able to do our small part to bring more jobs into Oregon.”
It is widely understood that consistent communication between inmates and their support groups while in custody is a significant factor in reducing recidivism. “The more inmates connect with their friends and family members,” said O’Neil, “the less likely they are to be rearrested after they’re released.”
“Our system is a significant technology upgrade for everyone who uses it – from inmates to their friends and family to facility staff,” said O’Neil. “We’re improving call quality and lowering rates for the public, and we’re radically improving the available investigation tools, allowing the DOC to increase safety. We’re pleased to be able to say that by July 1, 2012, the DOC will be equipped with the most modern inmate phone system available.”
Telmate will bring a number of significant improvements to the DOC inmate phone system. The most apparent change for both inmates and their friends and family members is a convenient flat rate per minute structure. Prices with Telmate will change to $0.16 per minute for all domestic calls and $0.50 per minute for international calls. Over half of the price of each call is used to fund inmate activities and programs, including alcohol and drug treatment, prison libraries, services for indigent inmates and inmate education programs.
Another new technology that Telmate is providing to inmates and their families is voicemail. Telmate is installing a service that enables families and other approved outside parties (like attorneys) to leave a three-minute voice message for an inmate for $1.25. With the current phone system, there is no voicemail feature, and this means that important communications, such as legal updates and death notices must be relayed through facility staff or sent via postal mail.
Telmate is installing cash and credit card deposit kiosks in all 14 DOC prisons, offering friends and family members a convenient means to deposit funds into an inmate’s phone account, regardless of the facility in which the inmate is housed. All deposited funds will be available for calls immediately. Cash deposits are not supported with the outgoing inmate phone system. In Telmate’s experience, when cash deposit kiosks are available, approximately 50% of deposits are made using cash.
Telmate is eliminating all fees for deposits related to calling funds. This means that every dollar deposited via credit card over the phone, web, and kiosks, and all cash deposited using the new kiosks, will be available for calls. Also, there will no longer be a minimum or maximum deposit amount. Additionally, any inmate transferred between an Oregon county with Telmate phone service and any DOC facility, will be able to easily transfer their entire calling balance without delay or penalty.
Telmate is also introducing a new level of fraud protection. Telmate’s voice biometric authentication for all inmate calls requires inmates to provide a voiceprint as well as a PIN number before paying for phone calls, checking their balance or transferring funds, preventing fraudulent calls and providing additional protection for inmates’ prepaid calling funds.
Telmate is introducing an automated customer service hotline for inmate phone complaints. Inmates will now be able to leave a voicemail detailing their concern which will be reviewed and resolved on the same day by a member of Telmate’s Oregon-based multi-lingual customer service department. Any credits will be applied immediately, and the inmate is notified by customized automated response.
About Oregon Department of Corrections
The Oregon Department of Corrections houses over 14,000 inmates in 14 prisons located across the state. Its mission is to promote public safety by holding offenders accountable for their actions and reducing the risk of future criminal behavior.
Oregon DOC Contact: Elizabeth Craig
Telmate is one of the fastest growing inmate telephone systems and services in the United States, and a leader in both customer service and cutting-edge investigative technology. Telmate provides phone service to inmates and detainees in 41 US states and two Canadian provinces. Telmate is headquartered in Ontario, Oregon with an additional office in San Francisco, California. To find out more about Telmate visit www.telmate.com
Telmate Contact: Christopher Ditto (chris[at]telmate.com)