US006560323B2 (12) United States Patent (10) Patent N0.: (45) Date of Patent: Gainsboro (54) May 6, 2003 COMPUTER-BASED METHOD AND OTHER PUBLICATIONS APPARATUS FOR CONTROLLING, MONITORING, RECORDING AND Bahl, L. “A Maximum Likelihood Approach to Continuous Speech Recovery”, Readings in Speech Recognition Ed. A. REPORTING TELEPHONE ACCESS Waibel and K. Lee, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, pp 308—319, IEEE 1983. (75) Inventor: Jay L. Gainsboro, Framingham, MA (Us) Batten, A. “Personal Communications Service and the Intel ligent Network”, British Telecommunications Engineering, vol. 9, pp 88—91 Aug. 1990. (73) Assignee: T-NetiX, Inc., Carrollton, TX (US) (*) US 6,560,323 B2 Notice: Lee, K. “Large—Vocabulary Speaker—lndependent Continu ous Speech Recognition Using HMM”, Carnegie Mellon University Department of Electrical and Computer Engi neering, CMU—CS—88—148 Apr. 1988. System 20, Nov. 1992. Subject to any disclaimer, the term of this patent is extended or adjusted under 35 U.S.C. 154(b) by 0 days. Telematic “ConQuest III Intimate Telephone System” Nov. (21) Appl. No.: 08/904,784 Aug. 1, 1997 (22) Filed: Prior Publication Data (65) 1992. LaZerVoice, Digital Recording System Inmate Services, 1997—98 Schlumberger Technologies, Inc./LaZerVoice, STIL V0222 LaZerVoice User’s Manual—Version 2.22. LaZerPhone User Reference Manual. US 2002/0071537 A1 Jun. 13, 2002 LaZerPhone, Inmate Telephone System, Users Manual, 1998 Schlumberger Technologies, Inc./Global Tel*Link, LaZer Related US. Application Data Phone User’s Manual—Version 1.0. (63) Continuation of application No. 08/510,327, ?led on Aug. 2, LaZerPhone, Powerful Performance Uncompromising Stan dards, 1998. LaZerPhone Technical Manual, System Overview. 1995, now Pat. No. 5,655,013, which is a continuation of application No. 08/229,517, ?led on Apr. 19, 1994, now abandoned. (51) (52) (58) Int. Cl.7 ............................................... .. H04M 3/00 Primary Examiner—Fan Tsang US. Cl. .............. .. . 379/188; 379/249; 379/199 Assistant Examiner—Roland G. Foster Field of Search ............... .. 379/91.01, 91.02, (74) Attorney, Agent, or Firm—Fenwick & West LLP 379/112, 143, 144, 145, 101, 108, 189, 196, 198, 199, 200, 34, 35, 207.01, 207.02, 207.11, 211.01, 211.02, 210.02, 211.03, 114.01, 114.14, 112.01, 144.01, 85.16 References Cited (56) ABSTRACT A method and apparatus for managing institutional tele phone activity utilizes a computer control unit to control a trunk management unit, which connects institutional tele phones to outside telephone lines. The computer control unit contains a database for storing the calling privileges and restrictions of institutional users and for recording calling U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS 3,851,121 A (57) 11/1974 Marvin transactions made by the users. The computer control unit 4,001,513 A * 1/1977 Naylor ..................... .. 379/115 implements a prospective call screening feature whereby 4,002,848 A * 1/1977 outside recipients of undesired calls from the institution may enter a code that directs the computer control unit to prohibit similar calls in the future. Stein ........................ .. 379/119 (List continued on neXt page.) FOREIGN PATENT DOCUMENTS JP 5-30193 22 Claims, 5 Drawing Sheets 5/1993 EQUIPMENT LOCATED 0| TELEPHONE ROOM IHIJ ME TELEPHUIES lNlMlE TELEPHONES _.I A ADMINISTRATIVE TERMlMLS US 6,560,323 B2 Page 2 US. PATENT DOCUMENTS 5,311,589 A 5,319,702 A 4,054,756 A * 10/1977 Comella et a1. 27227232 2 * i/ 1323 iggershetal- ~~~~~~~~~~~~ -- ZZZ/5g? 7 7 / ,mut """""""""" " 4,518,825 A 4,559,416 A 5/1985 Brrnkhoff et a1. . 12/1985 Thers et a1. 4,602,129 A 7/1986 Matthews et a1. 4,696,031 A 9/1987 Freudberg et a1. 4,726,057 A 2/1988 Doerry et a1. . . 1/1989 Brlhnger et al. 4,799,255 A 3/1989 Kosrch et a1. 4,815,120 A 4,885,765 A * 12/1989 Shirakawa ............. .. 379/93.23 4,896,348 A 4,899,375 A 4,901,341 A 1/1990 Grantland et a1. 2/1990 Bauer et al. 2/1990 Carter et a1. 4,922,519 A 5/1990 Daudehn 4,922,520 4,924,488 4,933,966 4,933,967 4,935,956 5/1990 5/1990 6/1990 6/1990 6/1990 Bernard et a1. Kosrch . Hrrd et a1. Lo et a1. Hellwarth et a1. A A A A A 5,023,869 A 5,033,088 A - . 6/1990 Kosrch . 2/1991 Porsenka et a1. 4,937,862 A 4,993,068 A 5,023,906 A / 6/1991 Grover et a1. * 6/1991 Novas ...................... .. 379/372 7/1991 Shrpman - 5,054,059 A 10/1991 Stern et a1. 5,063,593 A 11/1991 Kwon 5/1994 Bennett et a1. * 6/1994 Kitchin et a1. ............ .. 379/189 5,325,427 A 6/1994 Dighe 5,327,489 A 7/1994 Anderson et a1. 5,329,578 A 7/1994 Brennan et a1. 5,345,595 A 5,351,287 A 9/1994 Johnson et a1. 9/1994 Bhattacharyya et a1. . 379/93.02 . * 5,355,403 A 5,375,161 A 10/1994 Rrchardson, Jr. et a1. 12/1994 Fuller et a1. _ 5,442,696 A 8/1995 Lrndberg et a1. 5,452,347 A 5465 293 A 5,471,519 A 9/1995 Iglehart et al. 11/1995 Ch.“ t 1 1 ere ‘1' 11/1995 Howe et a1. 5,483,582 A 5,483,593 A 1/1996 Pugh et a1. 1/1996 Gupta et a1. 5,535,261 A 7/1996 Brown et al. 5,539,812 A 7/1996 Kltchrn et a1. 7 7 _ 5,566,229 A 5,583,934 A _ 10/1996 Hou et a1. 12/1996 Zhou 5,606,604 A 5,617,471 A 2/1997 Rosenblatt 4/1997 Rogers et a1. 5,627,887 A 5/1997 Freedman _ 7/1997 Etrng et a1. _ 5,651,056 A 5,655,013 A * 8/1997 Garnsboro ................ .. 379/188 5,722,418 A 3/1998 Bro 5,724,404 A 3/1998 Garcra et a1. 5,745,553 A 5,796,811 A 4/1998 Mrrvrlle et a1. 8/1998 McFarlen . . . _ . _ 5,109,405 A . 4/1992 Morganstern 5,799,068 A 8/1998 K1k1n1s et a1. 5,131,024 A 5,150,357 A 7/1992 Pugh et a1. 9/1992 Hopner et a1. 5,805,685 A 5,809,125 A 9/1998 McFarlen . 5,163,083 5,187,740 5,200,995 5,222,120 5,229,764 A A A A A 11/1992 2/1993 4/1993 6/1993 7/1993 Dowden et a1. Swarm et a1. Gaukel et a1. McLeod et a1. Matchett et a1. 5,276,731 A 1/1994 Arbel et a1. 5,305,312 A 5,309,505 A 4/1994 Fornet et a1. 5/1994 SZlam et a1. * 9/1998 Gammrno ................. .. 379/189 . 5,883,945 A 3/1999 Rrchardson et al. 5,960,064 A 9/1999 Foladare et a1. 6,052,454 6,072,860 6,141,406 6 188 751 7 A A A B1 7 * cited by examiner 4/2000 6/2000 10/2000 20001 Kek et a1. Kek et a1. Johnson S h C “Cr U.S. Patent May 6, 2003 Sheet 1 0f 5 US 6,560,323 B2 1 m 6 l w 6 : 5 ” 16:I 6H6 M6 6 [email protected]ég5ie6 m 6 T626656 6 I." 2 E Q o E8-:.Sz23451.6 5z5M2o:35m8 3% 285 E56 @25 9 U.S. Patent May 6, 2003 0T sonwARE mu F'RMWARE Sheet 2 0f 5 30L MENU US 6,560,323 B2 SOL FORMS ORACLE INTERFACE UNIX OPERATING SYSTEM /_——\ E33: CPU 551-: F/GZ O SOL REPORT WRITER U.S. Patent May 6, 2003 Sheet 3 6f 5 US 6,560,323 B2 72-22a;<Qz25 32%5in;<ZQ2.530.2“3&2 $5“Z25 :5; 5.5as;2552%.<z2Q.0-2.NZ:2362%5<2ZQ-2.03-:.o;2;2.3% 5“mam? :2;<Q2Z.02.2 2=50%?32"E;,: Mim23i [email protected]:5;5<2:2%1as32;E: :a?523.:2285.8 2~w5as92‘;: 2:5aME132:? w zswE:52?D2Q.nw5.m02 E?a$25:,s.38;2? 15M25K; u_:@258; .5;;M2“a:5E5%23:2 i205.0s5.2i.5:3.02.N5:3E89-8 JL Km U.S. Patent May 6, 2003 5O Sheet 5 0f 5 US 6,560,323 B2 TRUNK 5| 4’T MANAGEMENT )UNIT \ ATE DESTINATION ALERT NUMBER XJANXX OOOOXXXXXXX / ETD INMATE (CALLERICOES OFF \___________..____/ EHFORCER‘i SYSTEM PERFORMS ITS HOOK AND EHTERs mans REPREsEHTTHY; A STANDARD INMATE ACCOUNT PARAMETER CHECKS AND IF PHONE NUMBER A PIN PRE-APPROVEOiDESTINATION PARTY PRE-APPRovEo DESTINATION VALIDATED CONNECTS CALL TO 52 ITITE TJRH _ARETRANSM_'TTED —} VIA PHONE LINES AND REcETYEH / - (IF CA U Ts EoR W R ILTIYHEHE ITHE DIGITS AS AH AcT|0HT0= I T )IDENTIFY THE 0R HAL I A DEB) APPROVED PHONE HuHRERTH I DEST I NATION PARTY F0RWARDS THE CALL usmc 3-WAY CALLING 0R CONFERENCE CALLING To AHoTHER DESTINATION NUMBER ' DESTINATION PARTYIAT l RHTcHNTTATETEEAEL WASTMHOE I PRE-APPROVEDPHONENUMBER) IZIASSIGN AN ALERT CODE TO RECE IVES cALu | THAT PHoHE NUMBER HHTcH : 55 I THE SYSTEM WILL I REC I THE INHATE IS BLOCKED I I MAKING FURTHER CALI. I l ATTEMPTS I THE PARTY DETERMINES THAT THEY 00 NOT HAHT T0 BE CALLED I BY THAT PIN NUMBER AcAm, T NEW PARTY RECEIVES CALL THE PARTY ENTER COT U OICIT AJNAOHOEJERHINES THAT THEY (TlgféE INTO TS'ELIgPHONE KEY PAD, IJDTSCONTINIBER THE CURRENT CALL, AND/ N HANG U1 2) PREVENT CALLER FROM CALLING THEM AGAIN F TAKEN BY A MED I- __ _ _ _ 5 II I I I US 6,560,323 B2 1 2 COMPUTER-BASED METHOD AND Traditionally, penal institutions have addressed this problem by restricting inmates to collect calls only. This, hoWever, APPARATUS FOR CONTROLLING, MONITORING, RECORDING AND still provides the inmates With relatively unlimited access to the outside World, leaving open numerous opportunities for fraudulent and criminal activity, as explained beloW. Therefore, in a penal environment, it is highly desirable to regulate phone access on an individual, pay-in-advance basis, and to immediately and automatically terminate an individual’s phone access When his/her paid-up account REPORTING TELEPHONE ACCESS This is a continuation of application Ser. No. 08/510,327, ?led Aug. 2, 1995, US. Pat. No. 5,655,013, Which is a continuation of application Ser. No. 08/229,517, ?led Apr. 19, 1994, noW abandoned. 10 FIELD OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates generally to the ?elds of psychologists, judges, and the relatives and family of such More particularly, the invention relates to a computer-based 15 and reporting access to outside telephone lines in a controlled, institutional environment, such as a prison, mili tary base, hospital, school, business or government organi 20 permits a potential call recipient to identify the caller as an inmate before accepting the call, Whether that call is placed BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION countable telephone costs Which the institution ultimately persons. Limiting the inmates’ access to collect calls only does not effectively address this problem, since an inmate can easily identify himself (to an operator) as someone from Whom the recipient Would likely accept a collect call. Rather, one should, at a minimum, provide a means that Zation. Generally, the need to control access to outside telephone lines in an institutional environment is Well recogniZed. In order to prevent individuals from incurring large, unac Another problem in penal institutions is the inmates’ desire to make threatening or harassing phone calls to Witnesses, prosecutors, police officers, parol officers, telecommunications and penal institution management. method and apparatus for controlling, monitoring, recording reaches a Zero balance. on a prepaid or collect basis. Conventionally, this is done by initially placing the inmate on hold and playing a prere corded message telling the recipient that a call has been 25 placed from a correctional facility and that, if the recipient bears, one must either restrict access to outside telephone Wishes not to receive the call, he/she should hang up before the call is connected. This approach mitigates, but does not lines or institute accounting controls Whereby the costs of unauthoriZed calls can be billed to the responsible individu als. possible for an inmate to repetitively call an outside party; fully solve, the harassment problem. In particular, it is still 30 Telephone systems in correctional environments require additional security considerations. Without appropriate con from inside the correctional institution remains. Therefore, it Would be highly desirable to provide an institutional tele trols on telephone access, inmates have been knoWn to use phone system that automatically prohibits inmates from the telephones to harass outside parties (such as Witnesses Who testi?ed against them, attorneys Who prosecuted their case, employees of the courts, etc.), to perpetrate fraudulent schemes, and to participate in criminal conspiracies (such as arranging the smuggling of contraband into the prison, directing an outside criminal enterprise, plotting escape attempts or credit card fraud). Therefore, it is critically important for correctional management officials to carefully 35 40 attempting to call certain outside persons. Moreover, it Would also be highly desirable to provide a method and apparatus for alloWing a recipient of an undesired call from an inmate to easily and automatically prohibit all future calls from that particular inmate, or from all inmates generally. Still another concern in correctional institutions is the regulation of access to telephone systems. For various security and management reasons, it often desirable to restrict a given inmate’s telephone access to particular plan, control, monitor and record inmate access to outside telephone lines. One of the most fundamental problems—Which eXists both in correctional and other business-oriented institutions—is cost control. To achieve cost control, it is critical that there be individual accountability for each call that incurs a charge to the institution. Such accountability is even if the recipient hangs up after hearing the pre-recorded message, the harassing effect of receiving repetitive calls phones, calling times, and to limit the length of calls, 45 number of calls, and number of calls to the same number. Also, to enhance security and discipline, it should be pos sible to instantaneously revoke an inmate’s calling privileges, or to otherWise modify the eXtent of a particular inmate’s calling privileges. typically achieved through use of personal identi?cation numbers (“pins”). Before making a call from an institution telephone, an individual must enter his PIN. The telephone service provider is then able to deliver to the institution an end-of-the-month telephone bill Which lists, in addition to Correctional institutions also typically Wish to monitor and/or record outgoing calls. Inmate-to-attorney calls, hoWever, cannot legally be monitored or recorded. Moreover, certain inmates—those Who represent particular the cost of each call, the PIN or name of the individual Who security risks—deserve live monitoring, as opposed to mere made the call. From this information, the institution can then 55 recording. Thus, it Would be highly desirable to have a collect reimbursement from individuals for the costs of system Which automatically initiates the appropriate moni certain calls. toring and/or recording depending upon the identity of the While this system of end-of-the-month call accounting functions reasonably effectively in a business like inmate placing a call and the recipient of the call (i.e., attorney or non-attorney). LikeWise, it may be desirable that environment, it does not Work Well in a penal institution. The reason is that inmates shoW little concern for phone bills they can’t afford to pay. Thus, the institution is often forced to absorb the costs of phone calls by its delinquent inmates. Moreover, the fact that account balances are only computed periodically—i.e., every month, Week, or even every day— permits the inmate to accrue large, uncollectible phone bills before his access to the phones can be terminated. 60 calls to certain numbers are to be monitored live, While others need only be recorded. Because the message content of inmate-to-attorney calls cannot be legally recorded or monitored, such calls can serve 65 as a conduit for the inmate’s illegal telephone activity. Therefore, it Would be highly desirable to have a system Which could passively—that is, Without in any Way moni toring or recording What is actually being said—monitor US 6,560,323 B2 3 4 inmate-to-attorney calls to ensure that: (1) the only tWo people speaking on the line are the inmate and attorney, sequence. Any multitude of call prohibitions can be estab lished as to any particular inmate by the prison administra tion or the called party, including total blocking based on the and/or (2) no DTMF tones, rapid line impedance changes, off-hook conditions or voltage spikes appear on the line. Techniques for voice identi?cation are knoWn—i.e. US. Pat. Nos. 4,993,068, entitled UNFORGEABLE PER SONAL IDENTIFICATION SYSTEM and 5,150,357, entitled INTEGRATED COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM, called party’s telephone number, blocking during particular both incorporated herein by reference—but have not been includes: a plurality of institutional telephones located Within the institution; a trunk management unit (TMU) for selectively connecting the institutional telephones to one or more outside telephone lines, Wherein the TMU includes means for decoding DTMF tones generated by the institu tional telephones or received from the outside telephone lines; and a computer control unit (CCU), coupled to the TMU, for controlling the connection of the institutional telephones to the outside telephone lines based upon DTMF tone(s) received from the outside telephone lines. Adatabase associated With the CCU contains information regarding the calling privileges of each person Within the institution. In a previously used in penal telecommunications applications. time periods, blocking based on the class of the crime associated With a particular inmate, etc. In accordance With another aspect of the invention, an apparatus for managing telephone activity in an institution 10 SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In light of the above, one object of the invention is a method of managing telephone activity in an institutional environment to achieve improved security and reduced cost. Another object of the invention is a system adapted to 15 perform such improved institutional telephone management. Still another object of the invention is a method and apparatus for alloWing outside recipients of calls from an institution to decide, in advance of connecting the call, Whether to accept the given call and Whether to block calls 20 preferred embodiment, the TMU—prior to connecting the call—plays an announcement to the called party identifying from that person and/or others Within the institution or the institution and caller, along With the options available to related institutions in the future, and optionally, Whether to indicate to the inmate that the call has been either tempo rarily or permanently blocked by a particular party, includ the called party. In response, the called party may enter the 25 ing the prison administration, or the actual party called by announced DTMF tone sequence (preferably GOTU), Which modi?es a record in the database, thereby prohibiting the caller (and/or other similarly situated prospective callers) the inmate, or that the number called by the inmate can not be reached for any number of reasons, as established by the control the operation of the system as Well as the records of from calling the called party in the future. Other features of the TMU provide security and monitor ing functions. The invention provides three levels of monitoring, any or all of Which may be active for any given call. The ?rst level is “live” call (voice) monitoring, Where the prison of?cials actively listen to a live call. The second level is call recording. The TMU can be programmed to enable associated recording equipment to record telephone calls. The third level is “passive” line monitoring, Where the TMU detects, for example, DTMF tones, off-hook system activity are stored in a central database, thereby conditions, voltage spikes and/or sudden line impedance prison administration, or the actual party called by the inmate. Yet another object of the invention is a method and 30 apparatus for passively monitoring a telephone connection to detect security breaches. A still further object of the invention is an institutional 35 telephone management system Wherein the parameters that permitting simple customiZation of system operation, gen eration of reports and monitoring of status. changes, in order to thWart attempts at unauthoriZed three 40 Way calling, call conferencing, call transferring, call for In accordance With one aspect of the invention, a method Warding or re-dialing via various alternate common carriers, of managing telephone activity in an institution includes the many of Whom noW offer “1-800” or local telephone number steps of: (1) identifying an institutional caller (the “calling (e.g., “950”) access numbers. Also, care is taken to avoid caller and—While the institutional caller’s line (earpiece disrupting calls that do not represent security breaches, by preventing false triggering of the above “passive” line monitoring features. For example, With respect to DTMF and/or mouthpiece) remains blocked—(a) calling said out tone blocking, the TMU Will look for any additional digits party”) Who Wishes to place an outside call to an outside recipient (the “called party”); (2) blocking the institutional 45 side recipient (called party), (b) providing the identity of entered by an institutional caller, such as an inmate, to said institutional caller to said outside recipient and (c) receiving a control code from said outside recipient; and (3) determining, in response to said control code, Whether to prevent the inmate from redialing to other telephone num bers that may not be authoriZed. HoWever, to prevent “talkoff”, Whereby the normal telephone conversation can connect the institutional caller to the outside recipient, and optionally, Whether to indicate any of a plurality of messages to the calling party, e.g., an inmate. The control code falsely trigger a disconnect signal (because the TMU may preferably comprises a series of DTMF tones, for eXample the sequence 4688, Which spells the pneumonic “GOTU”. In interpret the conversation as DTMF dialing), the TMU can be set to look at the number of digits dialed Within a 55 response to the recognition of a control code, the outside recipient is provided With the option (via a voice prompt menu) of prohibiting any future calls from the particular institutional caller or, if desired, prohibiting calls from any person Within the institution and/or related institutions. 60 can be legally recorded—i.e., all but inmate-to-attorney Alternatively, if voice prompting or voice menus are not available or not desired, then the public-at-large can be informed that the “GOTU” feature is available in their area, and With respect to certain institutions in their area, and then, upon receipt of undesired calls from such institutions, the called party can enter the “GOTU” touchtone or keypad speci?ed time period (e.g., siX (6) digits Within a ?fteen (15) second time period, or any variation of the tWo parameters) and thereby, determine Whether the audio information is indicative of unauthoriZed DTMF redialing or just a normal speech or voice pattern. In accordance With the preferred embodiment of the invention, all calls are passively monitored and all calls that calls—are recorded. At any time, prison of?cials can selec tively invoke live monitoring to listen in on any call in 65 progress, eXcept an inmate-to-attorney call. System alarms, Which trigger any time a particular inmate places a call or calls a certain person, alloW of?cials to determine When live US 6,560,323 B2 5 6 call monitoring is appropriate. Likewise, the telephone sys Referring noW to FIG. 1, a call management system manages calls from a plurality of inmate telephones 1. A TMU 2 controls the connection of individual inmate tele tem of the present invention can be programmed to default in any manner. For example, the system can be set to place only those telephone calls that are among a preapproved list of telephone numbers. Conversely, the system can be set to place all telephone calls except those that are among a list of phones (for example 1a) to outside telephone lines 8, and electronically monitors connected calls. A TMU 2 can optionally contain (and/or be connected to external) voice restricted telephone numbers. Optionally, the telephone sys messaging or voice synthesis equipment, to facilitate fea tem of the present invention can include speed-dialing, Whereby upon entering a PIN, for example, an inmate can enter “11” folloWed by the “#” key. In that case, the prison administrator may have established that “11” is the speed dialing sequence for that inmate’s mother. Of course, the system could be con?gured so that the inmates themselves tures such as over-the-phone voice prompting, voice mail, or any voice activated, responsive or interactive telephone 10 can program the telephone system With speed-dialing digits, hoWever, a principal objective of speed-dialing is to save time at the telephone, thus making the telephones available to the largest number of inmates in the shortest possible time 15 period. In addition, the invention may include biometric voice veri?cation features. The TMU, for example, may digitiZe a sample of the caller’s voice. The CCU then compares the digitiZed sample With a stored voice print, to verify the identity of the caller. Such biometric monitoring may also be used in a passive call monitoring mode, Wherein periodic samples of the caller’s voice are provided to the CCU—and Additionally, the inmate could ascertain hoW much any prior telephone call has cost, and further, could dial an intended telephone call, and ascertain hoW much that call Will cost for the ?rst time period (e.g., the ?rst minute), or, ?nd out hoW many minutes the inmate can be connected to that telephone number, given the cost of that call and the amount remaining in the inmate’s account, all prior to actually completing the call and becoming obligated to pay for it. Obviously, for debit-based systems, inmate calls Will not be placed in the event that suf?cient funds are not available. Further, if 25 during a call connection, inmate funds become nearly exhausted, a Warning tone could inform the inmate of that condition, so that the inmate can terminate the conversation, checked against a list of authoriZed voice prints—to ensure that no unauthoriZed callers are participating in a call, and to ensure that inmates are not sharing or selling relatively and take appropriate steps to replenish his/her account. Such Warning tones could be made possible by a real time call cost monitoring system, that compares inmate call costs and inmate account balances While each call is in progress. A serial interface card 4 digitally interfaces TMU 2 to: a liberal calling privileges associated With a particular PIN or inmate account to other inmates that are subject to more limited calling privileges. The use of biometric voice veri ?cation (or “voice prints”) can prevent PIN abuse in general. For example, if a particular inmate With restricted calling privileges, or no available funds, attempted to force (e.g., by threatening physical attack) another inmate With relatively non-restricted calling privileges (or available funds) to turn feature. For example, an inmate could enter his/her PIN into a telephone 1 keypad, and then, access his/her account. In turn, voice equipment associated With or contained Within the TMU could inform the inmate of the exact balance available in his/her account for future telephone calls. CCU 3, one or more administrative terminals 5a—b and, via data modems 6a—b, to a remote terminal 7. Of course, 35 remote terminals 7, administrative terminals 5 and CCUs 3 can be connected via so-called dedicated data/telephone line over his PIN, biometric voice veri?cation Would obviate this problem, as the voice Would be used to validate entry into services, obviating the need for actual modems 6. TMU 2 communicates bi-directionally With CCU 3. In any inmate account. one direction, CCU 3 directs TMU 2 to connect, record, passively monitor and terminate calls, and to doWnload and/or play prerecorded messages to an inmate or outside BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS call recipient. In the other direction, TMU 2 monitors the The detailed description beloW describes the preferred embodiments of the invention and is intended to be read in conjunction With the set of draWings, in Which: FIG. 1 is a block diagram shoWing the major components of a preferred apparatus, including a plurality of institutional telephones, a computer control unit (CCU) and a trunk 45 real-time status—i.e. off-hook, DTMF tones, voltage spikes and rapid impedance changes—of institutional and outside telephone lines. In addition, TMU 2 can provide digitiZed voice samples to CCU 3 in order to record messages (such as the inmate’s name) and to support biometric voice veri?cation or monitoring functions. Optionally, TMU 2 (or management unit (TMU); FIG. 2 is a block diagram shoWing the softWare and ?rmWare architecture of the apparatus; other comparable apparatus) could be con?gured to provide digitiZed voice samples to, for example, CCU 3, for each call made, Whereby such samples are suf?cient in length to FIG. 3 is an exemplary screen shoWing an institutional provide veri?cation that the inmate indeed participated in a user’s calling privileges and activity; FIG. 4 is a block diagram of a TMU; and 55 FIG. 5 is a How diagram depicting the operation of the call calls, called parties) for certain calls (for example, calls the quali?cation process, including the invention’s prospective administrator deems incomplete), it is critical that adminis trators have the ability to verify actual telephone commu call screening (or “GOTU”) feature. nications. Incomplete telephone calls may include, for example, busy signals, calls that do not “go through”, calls DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS that are not ansWered (as distinct from calls that reach ansWering machines, Which may be deemed complete), etc. The preferred embodiment(s) Will be described With ref erence to prison based call management. This, hoWever, Thus, if an inmate or a called party subsequently claims that should not be vieWed as limiting, since the invention is also applicable in other institutional settings such as military bases, schools, mental institutions and business organiZa tions. conversation With a particular called party on a particular date and at a particular time. Because prison administrators may not Wish to charge inmates (or in the case of collect 65 a particular telephone communication never occurred (e.g., a busy signal Was reached, the called party never ansWered, or no voices Were spoken at all), the prison administer can retrieve the voice veri?cation record to evaluate Whether, US 6,560,323 B2 8 7 e.g., a credit is due, telephone system repair is required, or As depicted in FIG. 4, a channel of TMU 2 connects to an Whether claims that certain calls Were incomplete are false. Referring noW to FIG. 2, CCU 3 is preferably a “486” inmate telephone 1 at a station input line 40. A record blocking circuit 41 connects station input line 40 to record personal computer or larger “super-mini” type computer ing equipment (not depicted) via line 41a (Which line can con?gured to operate under a suitable operating system, also be used for “live” call monitoring). CCU 3 automati cally controls an attorney relay 41b and, in the case of an inmate-to-attorney call, sWitches line 41a to a tone generator such as UNIXTM System V. Of course, any number of operating systems Will be suitable for the purpose of the present invention. In addition to the operating system, a database management system (DBMS), such as ORACLETM, Which includes a structured query language 1O (SQL) interface, is used to store system con?guration and status information. An SQL forms generator provides access to the stored con?guration and status information. An SQL menu program alloWs users to easily navigate the database system. An SQL report Writer is used to generate reports of calling activity or other system usage. TMU ?rmWare controls the operation of TMU 2. TMU to all channels of the TMU) supplies a dial tone to the inmate’s phone. A relay 44a sWitches a DTMF receiver 44 interface softWare in CCU 3 is con?gured to manage com munication betWeen TMU 2 and CCU 3. ORACLE interface softWare provides a simple, menu based interface to ?eld users such as correctional of?cers and management of?cials. to decode tones on the local line 42a or the outside line 42b. A voice-out-station line 45a supplies voice messages to the inmate’s telephone. CCU 3 controls the decoder portion of an integrated coder/decoder (CODEC) circuit to generate the messages fed to line 45a. (The decoder portion of a second Real-time control softWare manages the real-time activity of the system and responds to communications from TMU 2 and user inputs from CCU 3 or terminals 5a—b and 7. From an administrator/user perspective, the CCU soft 25 CODEC also drives a voice out central office line 45c to play messages to outside line 42b.) A central of?ce voice input line 47b connects to the coder portion of the CODEC circuit Ware supports the folloWing general functions: (1) establishment and con?guration of individual inmate data and monetary accounts; to support message recording, voice monitoring and/or veri?cation functions. Optionally, voice-in-station 42c is (2) checking of inmate debit (i.e. paid-in-advance) used to record the name of an inmate. Also optional, ansWer accounts; board line 47g is used to detect called party ansWer conditions, by detecting the presence or loss of call progress (3) setting of global (i.e. institution Wide) and individual restrictions on telephone access; (4) real-time monitoring of inmate telephone calls and alerts (based on call content, security breaches, etc.), 41c, thereby blocking improper attempts to record or moni tor inmate-to-attorney calls. A split relay 42 sWitches the inmate telephone betWeen a local line 42a and an outside line 42b. Initially (i.e. before the inmate initiates a call), split relay 42 connects station input line 40 (via local line 42a) to a monitor circuit 43, Which monitors the inmate’s telephone. Monitor circuit 43 supplies a battery feed to the inmate’s telephone, and performs pulse digit recognition and current detection as Well. Adial tone generator 43a (Which is preferably common tones (e.g., ringing, busy, special-information-tones (SITs), etc.). 35 along With the ability to cut off inmate calls individu A hold circuit 46 is used to interact With the outside caller during the call quali?cation process, during Which the sta tion input line 40 is sWitched to local line 42a. A hold relay ally or globally; (5) storing and reporting of detailed inmate call details 46a selectively connects hold circuit 46 to outside line 42b. A DTMF generator 46c (preferably common to all channels and account information; and (6) storing and reporting of telephone usage data. of the TMU) is controlled by CCU 3 to, for eXample, place Referring noW to FIG. 3, an eXemplary form 30 provides an outside call to a requested number. Hold circuit 46 interfaces With DTMF receiver 44 to detect tones generated easy access to various information regarding an inmate’s debit account, calling privileges and calling activity. The FIG. 3 form includes a title segment 31, Which displays the current date, title of the form and form code. BeloW the title by the outside caller during the call quali?cation process. The hold circuit 46 (With its associated relay 46a) can also 45 segment is a header segment 32, Which typically displays pass audio information directly to the monitor circuit 43 as desired via audio feed through line 46b. The hold circuit 46 can also be used for dial-pulse dialing to the central of?ce. Line current detector 47a (preferably implemented using an such information as the inmate’s name, registration number, preferred language selection, prisoner account code (“PAC”, or PIN), certain calling privilege information and account opto-isolator), ring detector 476, and tip/ground detector 47d balance. BeloW the header are a plurality of data blocks 33, monitor the status of outside line 42b. Ground start relay 47f connects a ground start circuit to the ring Wire of outside lines 48a and 48b, to start “ground-start” type lines. A line relay 48 sWitches outside line 42b betWeen a central office main line 48a and a central of?ce auXiliary line 48b. In addition to the channel circuitry described above, TMU 2 is controlled by a microprocessor 49a, Which interfaces With a Watchdog timer 49b and With a memory 49c, channel I/O 49d, miscellaneous 1/0 496 and dual serial ports 49f via data, or so-called “glue” logic 49g. TMU 2 also includes a jack tester circuit 49h and connectors 49i and 49j to ansWer and voice boards, respectively. The voice board contains a Which shoW the inmate’s transactions (both accounting transactions and phone calls) as Well as his/her calling privileges and restrictions—i.e., numbers the inmate is alloWed to call, the inmate’s attorney’s number, numbers the inmate is prohibited from calling, and numbers Which 55 should trigger an alert on the system terminals When a call is attempted. The system alloWs the user to scroll through the data blocks in order to bring any particular transaction or restriction into vieW. A help line 34 lists the commands available to the user. A bottom positioned status line 35 completes the form. Referring noW to FIG. 4, a block diagram of one channel of a multichannel TMU 2 is shoWn. Generally, TMU 2 plurality of integrated CODECs (preferably tWo per TMU includes circuitry to selectively connect inmate phones With outside lines, to selectively monitor and record the connection, and to generate appropriate voice instructions or prompts to the inmate and/or the outside call recipient. of the CODECs, including I/O circuitry and voice data channel) as Well as circuitry needed to permit CCU control 65 buffers. Referring noW to FIG. 5, the method of connecting an inmate call can noW be discussed. TMU 2 continuously US 6,560,323 B2 9 10 monitors the inmate telephones 1. To place a call, in step 50, any associated prison employing the same or similar call an inmate picks up a phone and enters tWo numbers (in any order established by the facility): (1) his/her personal iden management technology. Also, the destination caller may be prompted by any number of other alternatives. For example, ti?cation number (PIN); and (2) the number to be called. TMU 2 forWards both numbers to CCU 3, Which, in step 51, queries the inmate’s account to check Whether: the called party may be instructed to press “1” to reject all future calls from that inmate; press “2” to reject all future calls from that prison; press “3” to generate a busy signal to the inmate—in that event, the calling party (inmate) Would (1) there are suf?cient funds in the inmate’s debit account to make the call (unless the call is a collect call); hear a busy signal in his/her earpiece; press “4” to state that “The number you have dialed has been disconnected”; press (2) the particular inmate is alloWed to: (a) use the par ticular telephone extension; (b) place calls at the given time-of-day; or (c) has exceeded a maximum number of calls or calling minutes Within a given period of time; and (3) based upon the number to be called, Whether the number is approved or prohibited, Whether the number 10 party can be given the phone number of the prison telephone system service bureau, so that previously issued instructions to block calls (from particular inmates or facilities) can be erased. In any event, the called party’s response is trans 15 to be called corresponds to the inmate’s attorney (in mitted to CCU 2. If the response represents a desire to prohibit calls from all inmates, CCU 2 records a global calling restriction in the database associated With the par ticular institution, and if appropriate, transmits the restric Which case, the conversation Will not be recorded or “live” monitored), and Whether there are any time-of day or call frequency or other restrictions on the number to be called. tion to other related institutions via a computer netWork. Step 55 handles forWarded calls in a similar manner. Thus, the GOTU feature serves to blocks calls from inmates, based If the call is rejected on the basis of (1)-(3) above, CCU 3 directs TMU 2 to play a message to the inmate (in the on the number that the inmate has dialed—either by entering that number to a list of restricted numbers, or by deleting that inmate’s preferred language, determined by his/her PIN and established When the prisoner ?rst enters the facility) explaining the reason that the call has been rejected. Assum “5” to enter certain times of the day or dates to block calls from this inmate in the future; and so forth. Also, the called 25 ing that the requested call has passed these initial screening number from a list of preapproved numbers, depending upon hoW the administrator has con?gured the inmate telephone system. In any event, the inmate Will lose access to that tests, CCU 2 directs TMU 2 to call the destination party. telephone number in the future, based on the fact that the Until completion of step 53 or 55, the inmate’s earpiece and mouthpiece remain blocked (With respect to the called called party has entered the GOTU (“4688”) keypad sequence. Optionally, the GOTU feature can also be con party), thereby eliminating the inmate’s opportunity to inter ?gured to control the costs of collect calls accepted by the destination party. In that event, the destination party could, ject offensive or harassing remarks. In step 52, the destina tion or called party receives the call and hears a prerecorded for example, in response to a voice prompt, enter a dollar message Which identi?es the institution, caller and gives value limit corresponding to the maximum permissible cost of the current inmate call. As Well, any series of Warning tones could be established to inform both parties that the call is approaching the dollar limit, at Which point the call could be terminated, or alternatively, the destination party given the opportunity to Waive or extend the preset limit. In light of the above, one can appreciate hoW the GOTU feature of the present invention effectively eliminates the instructions as to hoW the called party may elect to receive the call and hoW the party may block future calls, if desired. The message may, for example, state: “You are receiving a call from [name of inmate] at the 35 [name of institution]. If you Wish to be connected, please press [a certain digit] noW and the call Will be connected in [number] seconds. If you Wish to prohibit future calls from [name of inmate] or anyone at [name possibility of telephone harassment. Advantageously, the GOTU feature also ?nds use in a standard (i.e. non of institution], please press G-O-T-U or 4688 . . . ” institutional) telephone system. For example, a local tele Advantageously, the pronunciation of inmate’s name is stored once in the database and retrieved each time the message is generated. This eliminates the risk of an inmate interjecting a short message in place of his/her name. The pronunciation of an inmate’s name may be synthesiZed from phone company may provide a service Whereby a called 45 party, after picking-up the telephone and receiving a call from an undesired caller, dials a predetermined sequence (e.g., “*GOTU”) to prohibit the current, undesirable caller from ever calling again from the same line. Implementation of this feature at the local phone company level is Well-knoWn commercially available electronic phoneme sets, or may be reproduced from a voice data ?le created by the actual inmate or administrator. For example, When an inmate ?rst enters a corrections facility, he/she may be straightforWard, and can easily be accomplished using exist ing technology and equipment associated With the telephone circuit of the calling party. instructed to recite his/her name into a voice recorder via a microphone. Then, that voice can be stored permanently into While the invention has been described With reference to a ?le associate With that inmate’s calling account and/or PIN, and can be automatically replayed as desired. one or more preferred embodiments, such embodiments are 55 In step 53, the destination party is alloWed a speci?ed time to determine Whether to accept the call, hang up or press GOTU to invoke the invention’s prospective call screening feature. During this period, TMU 2 monitors the line and transmits any received DTMF tones to CCU 3. If, in step 53, the destination party presses GOTU (depicted as step 54), invention. The scope of the invention, therefore, shall be de?ned solely by the folloWing claims. What is claimed is: 1. A method of managing telephone activity provided by an institutional telephone system comprising a local exchange in an institution, the method comprising: CCU 3 stores a record in the inmate’s account that prohibits the inmate from calling the destination party in the future and optionally alerts prison of?cials of any future attempts to place such calls. Optionally, step 54 may also prompt the merely exemplary and are not intended to be limiting or represent an exhaustive enumeration of all aspects of the receiving a telephone number associated With a destina tion party outside the institutional telephone system’s 65 local exchange over an institutional telephone from an destination caller as to Whether he/she Would like to prohibit institutional caller for placing a telephone call to the all future calls from inmates Within the particular prison or destination party; US 6,560,323 B2 11 12 blocking the institutional telephone and While the insti tutional telephone is blocked: calling the telephone number associated With the des tination party outside the institution; instruction blocks future telephone calls to the telephone number associated With the ?rst telephone. 9. The method of claim 6, further comprising: storing the call-blocking instruction for the telephone identifying the institutional caller to the destination number in a data repository. party; and providing the destination party With call-accepting 10. The method of claim 6, further comprising: identifying a calling party to a destination party associated options and call-blocking directions, Wherein the With the telephone number prior to inserting the call blocking message. 11. A method of managing telephonic communications provided by an institutional telephone system comprising a local exchange in an institution, the method comprising: determining if a calling party has been blocked from call-blocking directions describe hoW to block future calls from an institutional caller set that comprises at least one of the institutional caller, at least a portion of calling parties Within the institution, or at least a portion of calling parties from Within more than one institution. 2. The method of claim 1, further comprising: receiving a control code from the destination party While calling a ?rst telephone number before placing a call to the ?rst telephone number outside the institutional telephone system’s local exchange; the institutional telephone is blocked; and determining, in response to the received control code, Whether to prohibit the institutional caller from calling calling the ?rst telephone number to establish a telephone connection if the calling party has been determined to have not been blocked from calling the ?rst telephone the destination party in the future. 3. The method of claim 2 Wherein the received control code comprises a sequence of dual-tone multi-frequency (“DTMF”) tones and Wherein determining Whether to pro number; and inserting call-accepting options and a call-blocking mes sage by the institutional telephony system into the hibit the institutional caller from calling the destination party in the future comprises matching the received DTMF tones telephone connection that provides call-blocking direc 25 to a predetermined DTMF control code sequence for call blocking. calls to the ?rst telephone number. 13. The method of claim 11 Wherein the ?rst telephone number has been forWarded to a second telephone number, least one of “GOTU” or “4688”. 5. The method of claim 1, further comprising: receiving a control code from the destination party While the method further comprising: receiving a call-blocking instruction for the ?rst telephone the institutional telephone is blocked; and number from a destination party associated With the 35 from at least one of a portion of callers Within the institution or a portion of callers Within a set of insti tutions. second telephone number. 14. A system of managing telephonic communications provided by an institutional telephone system comprising a local exchange in an institution, the system by comprising: a trunk management unit associated With the institution con?gured to receive a ?rst telephone number associ ated With a destination party outside the institutional 6. A method of managing telephonic communications provided by an institutional telephone system comprising a local exchange in an institution, the method comprising: telephone system’s local exchange, call the destination placing a telephone call to a telephone number associated With a destination party outside the institutional tele phone system’s local exchange by telephony equip 12. The method of claim 11, further comprising: receiving a call-blocking instruction for the ?rst telephone number for blocking the calling party from placing 4. The method of claim 3 Wherein the predetermined DTMF control code sequence for call blocking comprises at determining, in response to the received control code, Whether to prohibit future calls to the telephone number tions. 45 party to establish a telephone connection, insert call accepting options and a call-blocking instruction mes sage into the telephone connection, and receive the ment associated With an institutional calling party; call-accepting options and a tone-based call-blocking inserting call-accepting options and a call-blocking mes sage into the telephone call to the telephone number by instruction for a caller set from the destination party; and the telephony equipment that placed the telephone call, the call-blocking message including call-blocking a computeriZed control unit con?gured to receive the call-blocking instruction for the ?rst telephone number directions; and from the trunk management unit and prepare a call blocking directive for the ?rst telephone number that blocks future calls placed by the trunk management receiving a tone-based call-blocking instruction in accor dance With the call-blocking directions that requests blocking of future telephone calls to the telephone number for calls placed by an institutional caller set. 7. The method of claim 6 Wherein the call-blocking instruction requests blocking of future telephone calls to the telephone number for calls placed by the institutional caller 55 unit from the caller set to the ?rst telephone number. 15. The system of claim 14 Wherein the caller set com prises at least one of an institutional calling party Who requested the telephone connection, more than one institu tional calling party Within an institution, or more than one set comprising at least one of a calling party Who placed the institutional calling party Within a set of institutions. telephone call, at least a portion of calling parties Within the 16. The system of claim 14 Wherein the computeriZed control unit is further con?gured to authoriZe the telephone institution, or at least a portion of calling parties from Within more than one institution. connection by revieWing previously retained call-blocking 8. The method of claim 6 Wherein the telephone number is associated With a ?rst telephone and the ?rst telephone has been forWarded to a second telephone having another tele phone number such that the telephone call is established With the second telephone and Wherein the call-blocking instructions to determine if the ?rst telephone number has been blocked for the caller set and Wherein the trunk management unit is further con?gured to Wait for authori 65 Zation from the computeriZed control unit before telephon ing the ?rst telephone number. US 6,560,323 B2 14 13 call-blocking instruction receiving means for receiving a 17. The system of claim 14 wherein the telephone con nection is forwarded from the ?rst telephone number to a second telephone number and Wherein the trunk manage ment unit is further con?gured to receive the call-blocking call-blocking instruction for the ?rst telephone number from a destination party associated With the second telephone number. 21. A method of managing telephone activity provided by instruction for the ?rst telephone number from the telephone connection associated With the second telephone number. an institutional telephone system comprising a local 18. A system for managing telephonic communications provided by an institutional telephone system comprising a local exchange in an institution, the system comprising: exchange in an institution, the method comprising: identifying an institutional caller Who Wishes to place an outside call to a destination party outside the institu call-blocking examination means for determining if a tional telephone system’s local exchange; calling party in an institution has been previously blocked from calling a ?rst telephone number outside blocking the institutional caller, and While the institutional caller’s line remains blocked: the institution; calling the destination party; call placement means for calling the ?rst telephone num ber associated With a destination parry outside the 15 institutional telephone system’s local exchange to establish a telephone connection; and call-blocking message means for inserting a call-blocking message into the telephone connection that provides call-blocking directions to a called party associated With the ?rst telephone number. 19. The system of claim 18, further comprising: call-blocking instruction receiving means for receiving a call-blocking instruction for the ?rst telephone number. 20. The system of claim 18 Wherein the ?rst telephone number has been forWarded to a second telephone number, the system further comprising: providing the identity of the institutional caller to the destination party using telephony equipment associ ated With the institution; receiving a control code from the destination party; and determining, in response to the control code, Whether to prohibit calls from a calling party group from calling the destination party in the future. 22. The method of claim 21 Wherein the calling party 25 group comprises at least one of the institutional caller, a plurality of callers from Within the institution, or a plurality of callers from related institutions.