Criminal Justice Jail

In LA, Crime Pays…..At Least for Global Tel Link – UPDATED


UPDATE: I’ve just had a long talk with Zev Yaroslavsky’s office and it turns out I had part of this story wrong. Yaroslavsky he did know about the usurious Global Tel Link deal, and he has been fighting the renewal of the contract. Moreover there is a very interesting back story to this issue that I’ll be reporting on next week. Bottom line for today: Zev was aware, and is working to do something. (And I’ve got the paperwork to back that up.)

More next week.

Once again Los Angeles leads the nation—except not in a good way
—and LA County supervisor, Zev Yaroslavsky, for one, is suitably aghast.

It seems that Global Tel Link, which has the inmate pay phone contract for the LA County Jail system (and I believe for the state’s prison system), is making obscene piles of money by charging the mothers and fathers and wives and husbands and sisters and brothers—and children—of jail inmates usurious rates to talk to a loved one inside any of the county’s jails.

To be specific, GTL charges $3.54 per minute for the first minute of an inmate’s collect call to his or her family, and 10 cents for every minute after that. (Since half the time when inmates call, the phones they use are broken and static-prone, one suspects that GTL is not spending a fortune on maintenance.)

So, how much money is Global Tel Link making by overcharging for calls to those LA residents who can least afford it? Well, enough that they can easily fork over a tidy $14 million per year to the county as a kind of kick back–er—fee for the privilege of overcharging. Global Tel Link’s cushy contract was to have been up last spring with an RFP offered so other companies could come up with a less appalling fee structure. But GTL dangled another $2 million in front of county staff to persuade them to extend the contract for two more years. The ploy worked.

The only reason that Yaroslavsky and his fellow supervisors
even noticed the existence of GTL’s money making scheme is that, for the last few days, they have been sifting through the county’s various funds and revenue streams in an effort to find an additional $25 million for the sheriff’s budget—the amount needed to prevent Sheriff Lee Baca from having to close one of this jails. In any case, as the Sups trolled through various money pots they found the GTL numbers.

“It’s a scandal. This is an indefensible kind of charge that we’re assessing,” Yaroslavsky said regarding the very, very profitable contract, according to NBC, (which was the only LA news outlet other than WLA that seems to have covered the story).

Not to be mean, but the fact that this contract is in any way startling news to the Sups is a tad hard to take. (Read your job descriptions, guys!)

(Some of us—ahem—have been hollering about this issue for quite some time.)

It also might also be good to note here that, according to studies on recidivism dating from 1954 to the present, the amount of contact an inmate has with his or her family and community is among the top predictors determining a parolee’s success. Inmates who remain in contact with family and loved ones are less likely to pose a threat to prison staff or to re-offend once they’re released..

That’s “contact,” as in phone calls.

Nice you could join the party, dearest LA County Supervisors. Now DO something!


  • I’m glad this subject has come to light. Everytime my sancho Rudy calls me from the PEN it cost me like $12 and then HEctor usualy calls right after that. I’m spending about $100 a week talking to my men.

  • Tell me you’re not surprised Celeste. I’m of course not to concerned with inmate rights or their family members who so often are either involved with or turn a blind eye to the criminal actions of their family or loved ones, but since I hate corporate greed with the wink and nod of government officials approval I can’t really be too harsh here on your position.

    Going to cover the massive raid on Avenues that took place this morning? I was going to post it but figured you’d do it at some point today and didn’t want to post ahead of you, it’s your site.

  • Avenues raid…LOL. An Aves homie hasn’t been spotted in HP in 3 years. Now that Drew’s shut down, that gang’s pretty much been scattered all over town and inactive. Cops must have rousted up a bunch of kids and decided to call it a raid for the headlines. In other words, sure fire, stop or you’ll go blind…

  • I don’t care, an active gangster is a disease and they all belong in jail or a grave. Legal or illegal doesn’t matter to me.

  • The County Supervisors knew exactly what was going on with the phone charges – people have stood in front of them and bitched about this issue numerous times.
    Many years back, I read memos instructing certain county departments not to accept collect calls from LA county detained inmates (calling in to do interviews or offical LE business). This long practice was dropped…….at that time, we all knew why the county supervisors did this. It was called GLOBAL TEL LINK

  • Sure Fire, I’m certainly tracking the Glassell Park raid (and I know you meant Tuesday morning, not this morning). I don’t know that I have anything to add at the moment that hasn’t been thoroughly covered by local TV and the LA Times.

    Plus I’ve not yet seen a social justice angle to the story. It was a multi-agency police action, one of the largest in the city’s history and it seems to have gone very smoothly.

    (Joel Rubin has a good story in this morning’s LA Times that gets to the facts of the matter, but in the form of a narrative.,0,2491594.story.)

    I’d have liked to go to the community meeting last night but it was at 6 p.m. and I teach at USC from 5-7 p.m. on Tuesdays.

    A question about the raid was, however, on the news quiz that I give during the first ten minutes of every class.

    PS: I notice that one of the LAPD persons who got a little face time last night on TV was Bill Murphy, captain of N/E division and one of the smartest cop-types I know.

  • C: Inmates who remain in contact with family and loved ones are less likely to pose a threat to prison staff or to re-offend once they’re released.

    Celeste, don’t you really imagine that calls to family are not the cause of criminals not returning to prison, but rather the calls, themselves, are a result of having close families, which is also the cause for them not going back. I don’t expect that there would be a lot of expensive collect calls accepted from a family member in prison whom everyone despises, unless it was by a wife who just wanted to nag the guy and remind him how much he ruined her life.

  • When you specifically look at “gang members” making phone calls from County Jail, they are usually making phone calls to threaten, extort, or make sure their outside illegal operations are running smoothly.
    So, as they do their gang business and make their small amounts of money, the County turns around and makes mega bucks.
    This is like paying back a fine or victim’s restitution…but its going to the County and not the victims of the crime.
    In his life time, a gang member will never pay back a victim for their lost, but an inmate will sure in hell pay that collect call bill.
    Global tele link gets paid – the County Supervisors get paid – the detained gang member will surely get paid – the victim(s) just gets a middle finger.

  • Woody, you have a good point. People with good relationships with family and community when they went in are more likely to do better when they come out. Nonetheless it’s not helpful to make the contact with family so hard and so expensive.

    About the photo: the site was being updated and the photo image briefly got lost in the shuffle. But thanks for the heads up. In this case, I knew about it.

    poplockerone: Oh, piffle. That’s just silly Most people, gang members or otherwise, are primarily calling family and friends to chat aimlessly.

    Are biz calls made by gangsters who are up to no good?

    Sure. But by far the majority of the calls are just people—criminals and otherwise—being people.

    I think one of the biggest problems that law enforcement professionals have is that you see the worst in human nature, by virtue of your job, and then you use this skewed information to draw conclusions about how human beings operate, which by definition, is not going to be accurate.

    Then sensing the inaccuracy, you make another analytic jump that takes you still farther afield. You apply your skewed conclusion about human nature to those you deem to be the criminal class (or gang members or “thugs” or whatever grouping you have designated) and you decide that THOSE people behave in a manner that is outside the normal rules for human behavior that we know to be true, thus creating in your mind a sort of “other” species that reacts and thinks differently than the rest of us—a logical construct that will always, always, always lead you to a false conclusion.

  • Yep, Woody, in So Cal it’s a big news week for animals and animal sh*t.

    We’re also shooting coyotes this week, because one coyote bit a guy who was sleeping. Actually, the coyote didn’t so much bite, as administer a single nip to the man’s foot to get his attention. Then the beast simply sat down and waited for the guy to wake up and give him—the coyote—some food. In other words, the coyote wasn’t really being aggressive. He (or she) was merely being unpleasantly pushy.

    So the city, in its infinite wisdom, went on a coyote-shooting rampage. (Not that I’m promoting a coyote nipping policy, but really…..)

    Reg, that story about the Texas prosecutor and the Texas judge is….mind boggling.

  • as a criminal trial attorney, my office voice mail fills up every day. i am in court. when this outfit can’t get through, they leave a voice mail! i have clients whose families get hit for a thousand to 1,300 a month by this company.

  • Sure Fire Says:
    September 23rd, 2009 at 9:11 am

    Legal or illegal doesn’t matter to me.


    Oh the hell it doesn’t. If the article would have said that more than half of the gang members arrested, almost all of the,, if not all of them, being Latinos, were illegals, you would have been all over that shit. None of the gang members arrested are illegals. They’re all Americans. So much for the theory that the current Latino gang problem is caused by unchecked immigration. I love how the minutemen drummer boys who comment in here are dodging this aspect of the story. Funnier than hell.

  • “I think one of the biggest problems that law enforcement professionals have is that you see the worst in human nature, by virtue of your job, and then you use this skewed information to draw conclusions about how human beings operate, which by definition, is not going to be accurate.”

    This type of thinking is the reason why little Lily Burk was killed.

  • “This type of thinking is the reason why little Lily Burk was killed.”

    Okay, lay out your logic, Joanna. How exactly does that work? How does asking for an accurate assessment of human behavior translate into “thinking” that allowed Charlie Samuels to kidnap and slit the throat of a beautiful 17-year-old girl.

    I’m just curious.

  • So what, Joanna? A democratic society isn’t perfect. Naive, young women are going to get killed by crazy street dwellers. It’s a price we pay for a system of due process. It doesn’t happen every day. In fact, in the case of a girl from an environment as good as Burk’s being killed by some scumbag in downtown? It rarely ever happens. So get off of your police state agenda.

  • 3.Gava Joe Says:
    September 23rd, 2009 at 8:16 am
    Avenues raid…LOL. An Aves homie hasn’t been spotted in HP in 3 years.

    Straight from a guy who lives in Sacramento

  • The robber baron gavachos are again ripping off the victims (mostly latinos) unjustly jailed by our skewed justice system. Which of course is run by judges and prosecutors who only see the worst in people and therfore are not qualified to do their jobs.

    We need happy liberal gay men like Sr. StillRobGavaGust from Sacramento running our justice system. I’m sure the Sacramento Saint and gang expert knows all about the unjust arrest of the Avenues gang members. Which main purpose is to further profit the robber baron gavachos, prison industrial complex, xenophobic cops. All this only serves to bring more joy to the xenophobic minutemen (Woody, Sure Fire and Poplockerone).

  • LOL. OK, Sure Fire. We’ll all play along and pretend that if those gangsters arrested were illegals, you wouldn’t be using that aspect of the story as a soap box on why we need to crack down on immigration. Not one of them was an illegal. And this is a major gang in Los Angeles that’s been in and out of the news for the past decade. Face it. L.A. gangs are as American as apple pie. The violence we’re seeing today is NOT connected to Mexican immigration. It’s the same old LA gang violence we’ve always seen.

  • I don’t need to face anything but I also don’t believe that some of those caught weren’t anchor babies, I think that would be pretty much defying the odds. If you’re naive enough to believe that illegal immigrants haven’t contributed big time to the gang problem you’re dreaming.

  • 23.Gava Joe Says:
    September 24th, 2009 at 12:03 am
    Sacramento? Kansas, buddy. But I’m in L.A. frequently, and know everything about L.A. Why do you think I spend so much time on L.A. blogs?

    Because you’re an L.A gang groupie. What part of Kansas are you in SNS ?

  • Well, it will make Sure Fire and Woody happy (and me too, in this case – I’m all FOR anything that keeps our streets safe from criminals as long as it’s balanced against vital civil liberties and doesn’t scoop up the innocent in too wide a net) that the Feds led by ICE with local authorities, arrested 9 gangbangers in Bell Gardens yesterday belonging to the Barrio Evil 13, a relatively new group, Ching-Ching Li reports in the Times. Three of them were illegal and one a self-proclaimed hitman for a TJ Drug Cartel. (I’m aware that in the Avenues Gang case, the mother Chata Leon and many of her generation came here illegally, but since their kids are legal under federal law, whether or not they’re “anchor” babies is irrelevant.)

    Confiscated among their weapons were an AK-47 and submachine guns; the cache indicates they were supplying other gangs, and claimed to have sources in the military. They’re also in Huntington, Vernon, the usual group of cities which allegedly are far WORSE than L A because they’re outside the reach of LAPD and under the County Sheriff’s jurisdiction.

    Maybe the DA and his buddy Baca could be more effective there (this was spearheaded by the Feds), and less focused on “scoring” against those who fall victim to their prosecutorial “win at all costs” agenda. People like Lisker and Deborah Peagler. (As I added under the Lisker thread, I just last night noticed a 9/23 Editorial in the LATimes following up on your update with a very harsh criticism of how, “instead of saying what they should have – that they are deeply sorry for having built a case on a sloppy and incomplete investigation and ‘false evidence’ – they kicked Lisker as he walked out the door.” Noting earlier that this was “probably because, even 26 years later, it’s still a huge embarrassment to the DA’s office to have been overruled.”

    So again, in the words of the Superior Court judge whose letter you linked to in Peagler thread, they “circled the wagons” and would have preferred to bury the evidence, that is, let the victim rot in jail so their using false evidence and then covering up, would never be brought to light.

    Another PS to another thread: Patrick McGreever reports that Arnold has “found” ways to avoid closing the parks: by cutting hours and days open, in worst cases on weekends/ holidays only, closing parts of the park, cutting admin. costs and things like cleaning the bathrooms only once/ day. (Well, OK, as long as it doesn’t become a health hazard.) Overall a sensible move. Hopefully temporary til they make more sensible cuts, like releasing the really old and sick inmates to home detention. (How much did it cost to treat Susan Atkins til the bitter end? Would you have advocated releasing her to family if she had any, to die?)

  • Under what Federal law are the children of Illegal aliens considered legal residents, thought it was federal policy as stated here?

    The 14th Amendment of the Constitution states,

    All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.

    The Amendment was passed for the sole purpose of granting freed slaves and their children citizenship. Senator Jacob Merritt Howard of Michigan who introduced the Amendment stated,

    This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States.

    But the obvious intent, as well as the “subject to jurisdiction thereof” clause, is ignored by federal policy that gives children of illegal aliens born in the United States automatic citizenship.

    If it was a court decision, that I couldn’t find, could you tell me what case? Your take that gangsters who are here due to them being born of illegal residents is “irrelevant”
    is not only disgusting, it’s another chapter in how we have turned into a nation of cowards and people like you are apparently ok with it.

    It’s estimated that about 4,000 citizens die every year due to the actions of illegal immigrants. If our leaders had the actual balls to apply what the 14th Ammendment not only says, but was intended to restrict which was thrown away for absolutely no good reason, there would be a lot less grieving families today.

    It’s anything but “irrelevant”.

  • Sure Fire, you’re arguing straw men here again. Whether or not you interpret things differently, fact is, that the law enforcement of ANY agency can’t go around making up their own laws and declaring that kids of those here illegally can be treated as illegals and treating them accordingly. However “disgusting” you find this fact. How think the cops should round up “anchor babies” and ship them to some other country, what exactly are the policy implications, in your mind?

    (If the parents are still illegal, that’s another matter, and I don’t know why they’re still here. In Chata Leon’s case, I seem to recall that she WAS actually deported but returned like many of them. That’s another story, and underscores that just deporting illegals after they serve their time — and I don’t know how much this woman did serve for her drug and gun felonies, not enough in my mind — doesn’t solve anything since they just return. I don’t see how she could have become naturalized with her record, so pursuing the status of the parents would be another way to proceed with gangbangers, seems to me.

    What’s “disgusting” is that you and your Trutanich’s figure that breaking the law and disregarding civil liberties and the rights of the innocent and unfortunates as well (or at least, pushing them to the very limits and seeing if the courts push back, like with the way the graffiti injunction is written) to “fix” what you think ails us as a country, is somehow okay. “To fix” what “the cowards” have done. I’m sure that every police state and dictatorship starts the same way.

  • WBC? what are talking about – all those cities have their independant police departments. None of those cities are patrolled by the County Sheriffs – except very small pieces of unincorported areas in Firestone and Walnut Park -between South Gate and Huntington Park.
    Cudahy kicked out the Sheriffs – because the city is full of crooked politicians.
    Aside from unincorported Compton (willowbrook) or maybe Florence, LAPD patrols the wrost areas in the entire LA county.

  • poplock, I stand corrected on that point – I shouldn’t have lumped the Sheriff in with the DA on that one. Too late at night. But my point was just to distinguish it as outside the jurisdiction of LA city and LAPD – I sure wish someone would clean up that area. Maybe all those small police depts. are the problem, while LAPD gets all the scrutiny.

  • I didn’t say anything about picking up all the anchor babies and tossing them out of the country, I said that the original intent of the 14th Ammendment wasn’t to allow illegals to have babies here and those babies allowed to become citizens of the country when they have no real right to be one.

    I said this in respond to a post..”I don’t need to face anything but I also don’t believe that some of those caught weren’t anchor babies, I think that would be pretty much defying the odds. If you’re naive enough to believe that illegal immigrants haven’t contributed big time to the gang problem you’re dreaming.” In other words, eliminate the policy and we have less gangsters to deal with, simple enough for you?

    The policy that allows that has helped us exactly how? How much has it cost the country money wise? How many of these kids have grown to become gang members and killed people? When the post that, “Federal immigration officials were on hand (at the Avenues gang raid) to deal with any undocumented immigrants, although a DEA spokesman said none of the people arrested were found to be in the country illegally” was put up I said “I don’t care, an active gangster is a disease and they all belong in jail or a grave. Legal or illegal doesn’t matter to me”.

    Your response mentioned a federal law that I don’t think exists, but you were doing like all good liberals do, avoid responsibility and give up on an issue that has lots to do with public safety.

    My take is that policies that have put us in the path of harm, like the “anchor baby” provision should be abandoned. Look at the weaponry you mentioned that was confiscated in Bell Gardens, that included illegals. Those in Avenues should have never been legal in the first place, they shouldn’t be here period. That some policy says it’s ok and you obviously agree with it regardless of the damage done by these “legal” gangsters is sickening.

    If Celeste can go back 100 years to talk about what the juvenile justice system’s role initially was on the juvenile arsonist than how about upholding the intent of the 14th Ammendment? We’d have less crime, more money in the government for the truly needy and all types of other positives if this stupid policy was set aside. We as a nation don’t have the balls to do it because of people like you who absolutely don’t care. All you do is give lip service with your “let’s fight crime but let’s be nice” and “remember these people are citizens to and enjoy certain rights”, attitude.

    I also never mentioned breaking any law as you claimed, please point out where I did. I know you won’t be able to do that because it’s a simple minded lie that liberals resort to when they can’t think of anything factual to respond with.

    Liberals are all talk, they are weaklings when it comes to public safety because if they’re seen as being too tough on issues that would really make a diference they have this idiotic feeling that they’ve abandoned the principles that have ruled their lives for a long time.

    So they resort to the lie, it’s the easy way and the cowards way out. Now post where I advocated breaking any law.

  • I get calls from Calipatria State Prison and now it is about $3.54 for 15 min but that is because they lowered the rates it used to be almost five dollars. Now I have paid thousands in calls am sure in the last five years and that is a year and a half in county and the rest in the pen. The shit is no joke mad money making from families with loved ones in prison. I wont’even go into how much a package cost to send from a company or the money they need for canteen it is way to expensive!

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