San Luis Obispo County Jail is implementing a new video streaming system for inmates to speak with family, friends, and lawyers without personal visitations. The experience is similar to skype but there is a fee involved in using it. Part of the reason for this is that the service has overhead for the correctional facilities and vendor companies. In addition to the overhead, many county correctional use a commission fee on the service as a way to help fund prisons which they claim have funding issues for years that this will alleviate.
The current pricing model for visitation is as follows: on-site visitation is free while the new video visitation is $15 for 20 minutes and $30 for 40 minutes. There had been a discussion of creating a monthly subscription model, but for the initial launch, it will be on a per minute basis. The vendor selected to implement the system was Global Tel-Link which will maintain not only the website portal for arranging calls but also the systems themselves.
Access to the system is fairly straight forward where users will register on the Global Tele-Link (GTL) website. From there they register a username, provide personal and financial information, and then generate a password for security. There is no fee for registration or logging in and the website service can be used to schedule on-site visits as well as video communication. The video communication is achieved via desktop, laptop, or tablets equipped with a camera and audio input device. All video feeds are routed through a monitoring counsel for security reasons.