telephones i_____________a__ _.

telephones i_____________a__ _.
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
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May 6, 2003
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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
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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
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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
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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.
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