Allen County Jail inmates have been using secure computer tablets for communication and other activities, the sheriff’s department announced Friday.
The jail currently has more than 700 inmates with tablets assigned to them. Each inmate receives a tablet upon intake to the jail, with some exceptions made. A statement from the sheriff’s department said:
“All of this is at no cost to taxpayers.”
Inmates are required to pay a fee for some services that could be a potential source of revenue for the jail, said Steve Stone, sheriff’s department spokesman.
Tablets for Communication in Allen County Jail
The decision was not taken lightly to provide tablets for communication to prison inmates. Allen County Sheriff’s intention is not to pamper inmates or make their stay more “enjoyable.”
Providing inmates with paperless access to materials the jail legally must provide will reduce strain on jail employees and resources. This will also minimize the risk of possible lawsuits.
Tablets won’t be provided to inmates who have destroyed one previously, have a history of destroying jail property or who are assessed as too mentally ill to be responsible for a tablet.
The only free apps on the tablet will be for:
- Documents the jail must provide access
- A digital calculator
Many other features available on the tablets for communication will be sold on a subscription basis, with rates available in 7-day, 14-day and 30-day options. The subscriptions will cover services such as:
Prices range from $1.49 plus tax for a seven-day ebooks subscription to $24.99 plus tax for a 30-day music subscription.
The messaging feature will be a “simplified and restricted form of email. Each message, which can contain as many as 2,000 letters and characters, costs the inmate 25 cents, whether the message is sent or received.
A person outside the jail must initiate the messaging contact with an inmate by setting up an account at Connect Network.
The Future of Using Tablets for Communication in Allen County Jail
In the future, Allen County Jail loved ones will be able to send photos and 15-second videos to their incarcerated family members or friends at a cost of:
- 25 cents per photo
- $1 for each video clip
Photos and video clips will be reviewed by jail staff before the inmate can receive them. Inmates won’t be able to send out photos or videos, only receive them.
The phone calling feature on the tablets operates just like the wall phones at the jail. These calls will carry the same costs and restrictions when using tablets for communication within the jail.
In the future, the jail may possibly allows the offerings of:
- Movie streaming
- Commissary ordering
- News feeds
- Video visitation