Inmates in New York State Prisons will receive free tablet computers while in prison.

Fox News:

Inmates in New York State prisons will soon be given free tablet computers as part of an effort to better prepare convicts for life after imprisonment.

The tablets will have access to educational content, eBooks and music, and will even allow inmates to file grievances and contact their family and friends, PIX 11 reportedWednesday. The products won’t give inmates access to the internet.

They will be able to send emails, however.

The station reported that inmates who plan to send emails have to do so during a scheduled time at a controlled kiosk, and can only contact people who have been approved by authorities.

Here is how they will be paid for.

The electronic devices won’t be paid for by the state of New York, but rather by corrections services company JPay as part of a contract with the New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. JPay will reportedly make money if an inmate decides to make a purchase, such as additional books, on the tablet.

The department added in a statement on Twitter that it wont be “taking commissions” from the tablets, either.

“The contract includes the company providing each inmates a tablet free of charge,” the statement read. “The tablet initiative is not dependent on the budget as there are no state funds being used, nor is the Department taking commissions.”

The department’s acting commissioner, Anthony Annucci, called the move “groundbreaking,” and officials believe the move will better prepare inmates for re-entry into the outside community.

New York State prisons house more than 50,000 inmates.

So there are a few things to unpack here. The first is if this is a good idea. I am 100% behind making prisons into areas where we can turn criminals into law-abiding citizens. What I am not for is turning Prisons into resorts for people who commit crimes. The idea that we would allow inmates to have contact with the outside via email is one I am not comfortable with. This will give inmates the ability to run crime operations from inside the prison. Criminal organizations are experts at gaming systems like this and finding a way to create codes to evade law enforcement.

The New York Post had an editorial showcasing the reaction from Law Enforcement:

But some law enforcement personnel scoffed at what they saw as another instance of crime does pay.

“Little is done for the homeless, mentally ill, and hard-working people who can’t afford tablets in New York State,” said Ed Mullins, head of the NYPD sergeants union.

“With all the elected officials who keep getting arrested, one has to wonder if these perks may be self-motivated,” Mullins cracked.

Not to mention the potential of hacked tablets.

In one case last year at the Manhattan Detention Center — a city facility — an inmate got hold of a tablet and broke into a female guard’s Facebook account. He was caught masturbating to her photos, an NYPD source recalled.

“These guys are smart and they have nothing but time on their hands,” said the source.

I agree with mostly what they are saying here but what I don’t understand is the concept that money being used for these tablets should be put elsewhere. From everywhere I have read I have seen no indication that taxpayers will fund this. The money for these seems to be coming from the families of inmates when they make purchases. (If I am wrong on this please provide a link so I can update this article)

If these are funded by Tax-Payers then I would not support any of this. The idea that Tax Payer money should be funneled to buy tablets for these people is ridiculous. If they aren’t and they are only funded by the inmate’s families through purchases then I would say they should strictly reform this. For starters, these tablets should only be given to criminals showcasing good behavior. If you misbehave behind bars you should not be able to keep your tablet privileges. The next thing is that communications should be limited. They should have no communications that would allow them to run a crime ring from behind bars and if caught they should lose their communication privileges.

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