New York State Prisoners to Receive Free Tablet Computers


The more than 50,000 convicted felons who occupy NY state prisons will all be getting new electronic tablets this year, with corrections officials stressing the equipment won't cost taxpayers a dime.

Trombetta said the devices will be sent to New York State prisons this summer.

Annucci said the tablets would provide inmates with "the ability to access free educational material". The tweet ruffled feathers and prompted questions about whether people who commit crimes should be given tablets, whether an inmate could use it to harm someone or access inappropriate conent, and whether it might be a good idea to prepare inmates for the technology they'll face when released.

Acting DOCCS Commissioner Anthony Annucci announced the tablet program Tuesday, Jan. 30 during a state budget hearing, AP reported.

According to DOCCS, JPay will get money from transactions that happen via the tablets (ebooks, music, videos).

JPay explained in an email there's no cost to the state and taxpayer.

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The tablets will be available on a five-year contract that goes through 2022.

Another potential issue is the tablets being hacked by prisoners.

JPay said in a statement they will pay for the tablets and infrastructure.

But there will be mechanisms in place that prevent prisoners from sending emails to individuals who have not asked to be included on their contact lists, he said. "They're making things in the jail calmer, and when you have a calmer jail, you have a safer jail". They are free as part of a deal between the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision and JPay to start a pilot electronic financial system created to let family and friends send money to people in prison more easily, according to the department. The company is also creating a new electronic payment system for state prisons that will ease payments between inmates and their outside relatives or friends.

If inmates have no money in their JPay account, they would be unable to purchase any products.