According to newest reports, officials from Colorado’s state prison system have launched a pilot program to provide an initial 8,000 prisoners with wireless handheld tablets.
Prisoners will be allowed to use the tablets to play video games, read e-books, listen to music and even contact their loved ones by text and voice. They will only need to pay subscription fees out of their commissary to take advantage of these services.
Since the beginning of May, the service rates were $6.59 for a two-month subscription to music and games, $2 to $3 for 20-minute calls and 25 cents for each text message.
Prisoners will now be able to order a Snickers bar from the commissary, file a grievance about high-carbohydrate prison food, notify medical staff in the prison clinic about hepatitis C symptoms or sign up for prison education programs, all of the above just from the tablet.
Prisoner Andrew Stiern said that he loved the fact his stay will be made better with a tablet:
“IT’S GREAT. WHEN YOU ARE IN PRISON, YOU ARE CUT OFF FROM THE OUTSIDE WORLD. YOU WANT YOUR MIND TO BE FOCUSED ON POSITIVE THINGS. IT’S KIND OF AN ESCAPE FROM THIS WORLD. THESE TABS HAVE BECOME A NEW PIECE OF LIFE IN HERE.”
Just to be safe, the tablets given to the prisoners will have a closed network, meaning prisoners won’t have access to the internet or social media.
The tablets have been provided to the state by telephone provider Global Tel Link, meaning taxpayers will not have to pay for them. The troubling part is that GTL aspires to eventually provide a tablet to every single incarcerated man and woman in the country.
I don’t see how being in prison right now is much of a punishment.
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