PIERRE, SD (AP/WCMH) – State inmates in prison systems in Colorado and South Dakota will soon have their own tablet computers.
The privately funded program is aimed at helping inmates access educational programs and maintain ties to friends and family, which experts say can help decrease recidivism rates.
The Argus Leader reports the touchscreen tablets are being given to the South Dakota Department of Corrections by telephone provider Global Tel Link. The devices are connected to a closed network, so inmates can’t surf the internet or log into accounts like Facebook and Twitter.
KDVR reports every inmate in a Colorado will have a computer tablet by the end of 2017.
For a charge, inmates will be able to talk to and text family and friends. No photos or attachments are allowed. They’ll also have paid access to games.
South Dakota Department of Corrections Secretary Denny Kaemingk says tablets may also provide opportunities for GED and college-level courses, anger management and other educational programs.
“I don’t think it’s something that society needs to be afraid of because we don’t have all this access that they think we have,” Amanda Hall, an inmate the La Vista Correctional Facility in Pueblo, Colorado told KDVR.
Hall says she hopes to use the tablet to keep in touch with her three-year-old daughter in Montana.
While the tablets are free to inmates, they are responsible for a $200 replacement cost if they are broken.