West Virginia prisoners get tablet computers

October 26, 2019 GMT

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Inmates in West Virginia prisons now have access to specially designed tablet computers.

The Register-Herald reports the tablets are provided at no cost to taxpayers by Global Tel Link through its inmate banking services contract with the prison system.

The tablets give the prisoners access to email, video visitation, electronic books, music, games and movies. They lack a normal Internet browser but do allow access to select websites, including educational and career sites.

Some apps cost money but free apps include Khan Academy, featuring 7,000 videos on such subjects as math, science, history and economics. Another is CareerOneStop from the U.S. Department of Labor, offering career, training, and job search resources to assist with offender re-entry.

All apps and websites are approved by the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and each facility can set additional limits. The devices will soon help inmates submit requests, file grievances and order from the facility commissary.

West Virginia’s tablet program began as a pilot at the Saint Mary’s Correctional Center last year. Then-Superintendent Patrick Mirandy said he saw the tablets improve facility safety.

DCR Regional Director J.T. Binion agreed.

“The tablets give inmates the incentive to behave and follow the rules, so they don’t lose this privilege,” Binion said. “They have given inmates an opportunity to visit with family and friends who are not able to make it to the facility. It allows their children to have more contact with them. This has seemed to improve inmate morale overall.”


Information from: The Register-Herald, http://www.register-herald.com