Criminals sent to state prison in New York will soon get a free tablet to help them pass the time, according to WPIX-TV.
Why do they get a tablet?
The New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision is getting the tablets as part of a deal with JPay, a company that provides corrections-related services. State funds won’t be used to pay for the tablets.
Inmates will be able to read books, listen to music and access educational content on the tablets, as well as communicate with family and friends through a secure email system.
The email communications would be limited to scheduled times at controlled kiosks, and they can only be sent to approved recipients.
JPay will make money on the deal if inmates purchase any additional books or other items with the tablet.
What is the purpose?
DoC Commissioner Anthony Annucci said the inmates are getting the tablets because it will help them better prepare for re-entry into society once they’re released.
Annucci said the tablets will “improve operations and interactions with family and friends” at no cost to taxpayers.
The tablets also serve as a way for inmates to file grievances with the prison, or to file reports of rape or other incidents.
The Corrections Department reported more than 52,000 inmates in state prisons as of March 2016.
How have people reacted to this?
Not everyone is happy about convicted criminals having the luxury of a tablet, when there isn’t always access to that kind of technology for schools or people in poverty.
“Little is done for the homeless, mentally ill, and hard-working people who can’t afford tablets in New York state,” Ed Mullins, head of the NYPD sergeants union, told the New York Post.
There are also concerns about inmates learning how to hack the tablets to potentially access the internet or misuse them in other ways.