Electronic Tablets for Prison Inmates?

By Jim Madalinsky

Published 02/26 2014 03:32PM

Updated 02/26 2014 06:15PM

ALTOONA - Pennsylvania’s Department of Corrections is starting a new program that would allow inmates to purchase tablets and use them to download approved music and emails.
Not everyone is on board with the idea.
 “I think it's wrong. They're inmates because they violated laws. That means you lose your privileges,” Fred Barefield says.
 “They're in there to be punished and it doesn't seem like they should be rewarded in that way,” Linda Lucas says.
The Department of Corrections says the technology will help them prepare for when they leave prison.
The tablets won't have WIFI access, and they'll only be able to email people who open an account to chat with them.
“I honestly think it would be beneficial for some of the inmates,” Josh Creasey says.
The DOC says it will also be beneficial for their staff. Currently inmates are given radios, which the DOC says are often turned into weapons and used to conceal drugs.
Supporters of the move say it could also help keep them busy.
“There are a lot of them in there, they made their mistakes and they're trying to better themselves and trying to better their situation and it's just something to occupy their time,” Creasey says.
According to the DOC, no taxpayer money will be put to this program. Everything will be paid for by inmates.
The pilot program will begin soon in two state prisons in Schuylkill County.

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