Prison Inmates in a Colorado have been given computer tablets to use to call family, play games, read and listen to music. Is this a good or bad move?

Sheffield, Jamaica Correspondent-Inmates aren’t saints. In fact, the reason for their confinement is because of the lack of regard they’ve shown for life and others. They’ve done the crime; hence, doing the time. Of late, however, inmates in Colorado were seen with computer tablets to use for communication, entertainment, and research. Though the mass might disagree, I do believe that’s a good move, at least for several reasons.

It’s a part of the rehabilitation process. Mistakes are made. These individuals are locked in solitary confinement and paying for it. A prison, as incorporated within the judicial system, is there to assist these wayward individuals to change. While we do want to remove the influence of these individuals, it’s also necessary that the system help them change. They need to undergo a process of rehabilitation. Why is that important? If these individuals aren’t restored, after being released, they would return to their filth, failing to realize the seriousness of their initial action. For me, availing them tablets assist with that process.

Reading has the power to influence and mold ones thinking. An inmate who reads is better able to cope with societal changes when he’s released. Though they’re kept behind bars, they’re in a sense, abreast with what’s happening in society. As society develops and evolves, they’re able to move along.

Isolation hardens the heart. While these individuals principally lack physical consolation, they’re assured of emotional support from family and friends with the use of a tablet. A withdrawn and isolated individual is more likely to behave indecently and odd after being released. While he does his time, he’d be able to draw closer to family more than ever. With the support of family and friends, a man can make improvements for the better.

Yes, I do support the use of tablets for communication, entertainment, and research while in solitary confinement.

Gastonia, NC Correspondent-Computers in jails are a fact of life. If we’re going to pretend that we’re “rehabilitating” felons so that they can become productive members of society, we’re going to have to continue to have banks of well-supervised glowing screens in prison computer labs, intended to teach criminals usable skills so that, when they get out, they can be well-qualified for jobs they won’t be given because they’re felons. As long as the system continues to allow the “black box” on job applications, which is something I support, employers will continue to ensure that felons will not be able to find good-paying jobs out in the wider world.

However, the idea of giving prisoners tablets to communicate with family and friends at first sounded like something completely different. Why should incarcerated crooks have technology that a good percentage of the non-robbing and -raping public can’t afford? It made no sense at all to me to allow those who have done everything they can to mark themselves as outcasts from society a way to communicate with it more readily.

Then I read the facts. Time on the tablets isn’t free, and in fact is fairly dear compared to other services. Also, the video chats are subject to surveillance at any time. The cons won’t be able to ring up anyone they want and make deals, plot escapes and arrange for deliveries of contraband. If they do, they’ll lose video privileges and face other penalties. It might be better, however, to use that allowed surveillance to let the crooks think they’ve gotten away with contacting their cohorts on the outside and keep an eye on what they set in motion, then wait with the net.

But all in all, even though the fees will generate much-needed revenue for the prisons, I simply don’t like the idea of prisoners with tablets.

Prescott Valley, AZ Correspondent– The GTL Corporation has created a pilot program to give tablets to over 18,000 prison inmates in Colorado, and they plan on expanding the program to distribute them to every prisoner in America. The program is designed to provide access to various media sources that include educational programming, but the payoff favors GTL as much as it does the prisoners.

GTL is a specialist in prison inmate telecommunications and payment systems and though the tablets were given free to prisoners, GTL will still potentially profit from their distribution as there are charges to access databases for music and games as well as for text messages and phone calls, so most prisoners will have to pay for their calls, fun, games and other sources.

Additionally, the tablets can be used for filing complaints, ordering snack foods, contacting medical personnel and signing up for programs within the prison. The tablets are not enabled for internet use and prisoners cannot connect with others inside the prison, plus there are no violent videos or other games part of any software on the tablets, so there is some insured safety with the tablets.

There are trepidations and questions about the program as prison staff and outside victim support groups question why convicted criminals are allowed to have such comforts in a prison environment with possible access to technology that could further enhance and influence a life of crime within prison walls. With little to no monitoring, the tablets could become liabilities.

Many will say that the tablets are good things because they will ease everyday life in prison as well eliminate riots and other disruptions, particularly with prisoners waiting in line to make phone calls, or trying to conduct other activities, but others feel that coddling prisoners like spoiled children is not the way prison works. How can any kind of rehabilitation go forward when entertainment becomes a distraction?

It’s a good move for the GTL Corporation as they will likely gain a considerable amount of revenue through the tablets, and they get to play prison rescuer at the same time, but who is to say when inmates will up the ante and tire of the limited capability of the tablets and want internet connections and all the other goodies, good and bad, that go with being connected?

What will happen when boredom sets in and inmates have to go back to paying for their crimes rather than having instantaneous access to an escape mechanism? When did being put in prison go from paying for your crimes to playing for your crimes?

It’s a bad move for victims of crime as they have to witness inmates benefiting from being in prison rather than suffering and learning from it. Instead of focusing on how a tablet can help a prisoner escape from prison life, inmates should be learning about how they can come to true realization as to how to change their lives as well as understand how they have adversely affected others?

Maybe tablets will help prisoners pass the time of day, but they certainly won’t make reparations for their crimes and the victims and baggage they have left behind. If anyone should have free tablets, it should be those in the community that are paying for those in prison while educating their children that “crime doesn’t pay.”

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