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Indiana's Inmates Could Soon Have Access To Tablets (abc57.com) 133

An anonymous reader quotes a report from ABC57 News in South Bend, Indiana: Indiana is looking to help offenders who are behind bars. Soon, each inmate in the Hoosier state could have their own tablet. The Indiana Department of Correction says the tablet will help inmates stay connected with their families and improve their education. Offenders will be able to use the tablets to access any classwork, self-help materials or entertainment. Officials expect to use entertainment, like music or movies, to reward good behavior. The proposal was first filed in January. Apple iPad's or kindles won't be used. Instead, a company that makes tablets specifically for prisons or jails will be hired. One San Francisco based-company they may consider, Telmate, has a device that is used in more than 20 states, including some jails in Marshall County. INDOC is hoping a vendor will front the costs of the entertainment apps so taxpayers won't have to. INDOC also says it wants to avoid charging inmate fees because charging fees that they can't afford would defeat the purpose of the system. If the company selected pays, the vendor would be reimbursed and still earn a profit.
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Indiana's Inmates Could Soon Have Access To Tablets

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  • Why not? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Saturday March 25, 2017 @08:34AM (#54107935)
    I know the get tough on crime crowd will be throwing a massive shit-fit, but if you can give them something to occupy their time, it might be less shit going down in there.
    • How about "occupying their time" with work such as making license plates, breaking big rocks into smaller rocks, digging holes, filling in holes, etc.?
      • Re:Why not? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Saturday March 25, 2017 @08:57AM (#54108005)

        How about "occupying their time" with work such as making license plates, breaking big rocks into smaller rocks, digging holes, filling in holes, etc.?

        And when they get out their only possible skill set will be "making license plates, breaking big rocks into smaller rocks, digging holes, filling in holes, etc.". At least with a tablet the have the possibility of learning something of value.

        • Not true, menial labor serves to convince people they don't want to do menial labor and strive for something better. It's up to the individual to find their motivation. Would tablet permissions as a reward work for good behavior? Sure, I don't however think every inmate should get one at the cost to taxpayers.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Not true, menial labor serves to convince people they don't want to do menial labor and strive for something better.

            Like getting quick cash by robbing a store?

            It is not like it is an untested area. There have been a lot of experiments going on in how to make criminals turn away from crime.
            Physical labor doesn't do jack shit in that regard. It's just something that keeps them occupied while in jail

            There are two things that actually works when it comes to stop convicts from becoming repeat offenders.
            The primary one is education. If they have more options when they come out then the likelihood of them committing more crimes

          • Re: Why not? (Score:4, Interesting)

            by geoskd ( 321194 ) on Saturday March 25, 2017 @11:31AM (#54108525)

            Not true, menial labor serves to convince people they don't want to do menial labor and strive for something better. It's up to the individual to find their motivation. Would tablet permissions as a reward work for good behavior?

            Most people who end up in jail are there for one of two reasons: Drug crimes or property crimes. The ones who are there for drug crimes, didn't commit the crimes because that is the life they wanted, its the life they got stuck with, and they would gladly trade it in for something better. The same is true for property crimes. The thing that has been lacking from their lives that got them into prison in the first place wasn't motivation to be better, it was opportunity. Society failed them, and failed them hard. Now that they have been to prison, there is no road back for most of them. What few opportunities they may have had evaporated the moment they were convicted. What this country needs to fight the "crime epidemic" is not more prisons and more guards, but better education for all, and a system that guarantees that everyone who wants opportunities can find them. Stop punishing people for never having had the chance to do better, and start giving them those chances.

            Put in another context, what percentage of the prison population in this country would have made excellent programmers with a lifetime of quality education instead of the shit show they actually got? Even if its just 2% of the population that is currently incarcerated or on parole, that would exceed 100,000 people, and would be plenty to make up for the shortage of tech workers that we insist on importing from other countries by way the H1B visa program. The only reason we have a problem with a shortage of smart people in this country is that we insist on putting as many hurdles in front of the masses as possible.

            Its high time the people in this country start looking on education and health care as a fundamental human right. Not because of any kind of altruistic belief, but because it is cheaper than paying for a huge prison system, an unbelievably large police force, and the cost of unemployable citizens.

          • Re: Why not? (Score:3, Interesting)

            by hackwrench ( 573697 )
            Menial labor serves to convince me that if all you ever do is menial labor, you won't ever have experience of anything different to find that anything has value, so my reaction to people expressing some notion on the value of menial labor is to ridicule the notion.
          • Not true, menial labor serves to convince people they don't want to do menial labor and strive for something better. It's up to the individual to find their motivation. Would tablet permissions as a reward work for good behavior? Sure, I don't however think every inmate should get one at the cost to taxpayers.

            Okay, Let's put it to the test. On you for the next 30 years.

          • by skam240 ( 789197 )

            "Not true, menial labor serves to convince people they don't want to do menial labor and strive for something better."

            Of course they probably became criminals because they didnt want to do menial labor so that doesnt hold up so well.

            Maybe giving them a little help in finding better uses for their energy is a good thing.

          • by Dr. Evil ( 3501 )

            "Not true, menial labor serves to convince people they don't want to do menial labor and strive for something better."

            With a criminal record, there aren't many options.

      • The first is at least productive, but it isn't really a viable skill training program, especially if the only people who get to make license plates are in prison. The others are just pointless punishment that don't actually help anyone and just feed our vindictiveness.

        One interesting approach that I read about a few years ago that seems to really help was a dog training program [newleashonlife-usa.org] where inmates help to rehabilitate and train shelter dogs so that they can be adopted or for use as service animals. It's certai
      • How about "occupying their time" with work such as making license plates, breaking big rocks into smaller rocks, digging holes, filling in holes, etc.?

        Having zero marketable skills will really do well for America's already shithouse recidivism stats.

      • Re:Why not? (Score:4, Informative)

        by stephanruby ( 542433 ) on Saturday March 25, 2017 @09:52AM (#54108159)

        How about "occupying their time" with work such as making license plates, breaking big rocks into smaller rocks, digging holes, filling in holes, etc.?

        Making license plates doesn't earn the prison near enough money. And before you tell me about INDOC not wanting to charge the inmate fees, you'd be right of course. INDOC doesn't want to charge the inmates. It wants to charge their families. This is exactly how they used to do it for phone calls.

        They used to charge up to $14 per minute for collect phone calls until the FCC recently put a stop [washingtonpost.com] to it. Now, they're capped at no more than $1.75 for 15 minutes. Can you believe it? On a 15 min phone call, there is now a shortfall of $208.25

        Prisons have come to depend on this extra income for their sludge funds. Now that the FCC took it away from them. They just need to start providing services on cheap devices that the FCC hasn't even thought to regulate for prison yet. This is the real story here.

        • by Agripa ( 139780 )

          They used to charge up to $14 per minute for collect phone calls until the FCC recently put a stop [washingtonpost.com] to it. Now, they're capped at no more than $1.75 for 15 minutes. Can you believe it? On a 15 min phone call, there is now a shortfall of $208.25

          Prisons have come to depend on this extra income for their sludge funds. Now that the FCC took it away from them. They just need to start providing services on cheap devices that the FCC hasn't even thought to regulate for prison yet. This is the real story here.

          The court blocked the FCC's rate cap and then the FCC gave up on it anyway.

          https://consumerist.com/2017/0... [consumerist.com]

      • How about "occupying their time" with work such as making license plates, breaking big rocks into smaller rocks, digging holes, filling in holes, etc.?

        Because there are businesses out there that can make money doing that stuff.

        Then again, there is a sizable subset of Americans who are pissed off that we can't own slaves any more, a sweet gig that the North screwed up with their war of aggression.

    • [1] Is it to punish Bad Guys, said punishment being a deterrent to keep all those not-quite Bad Guys from taking the plunge?

      [2] Is it to protect the populace, keeping Bad Guys off the streets?

      [3] Or is it to rehabilitate Bad Guys, transform them into Good Guys?

      If it's [1] or [2], ditch the iPads and stack 'em up like cordwood. If it's [3], give 'em all iPads and teach 'em web design (the modern equivalent of making license plates), but don't call it 'prison,' because words mean something. It seems to me

      • isn't it because it's a nice way to milk the system? someone somewhere is siphoning off the tax-dollars? ftm (follow the money) should lead to the private fat cats.
      • by mjwx ( 966435 )

        [1] Is it to punish Bad Guys, said punishment being a deterrent to keep all those not-quite Bad Guys from taking the plunge?

        [2] Is it to protect the populace, keeping Bad Guys off the streets?

        [3] Or is it to rehabilitate Bad Guys, transform them into Good Guys?

        [4] All of the above.

        If it's [1] or [2], ditch the iPads and stack 'em up like cordwood. If it's [3], give 'em all iPads and teach 'em web design (the modern equivalent of making license plates), but don't call it 'prison,' because words mean something. It seems to me the justice system blurs all these distinctions into a muddy and costly mess.

        Prisons actually serve all three purposes, they serve as deterrents against crime, isolation of criminals and for rehabilitation of criminals. Most western countries tend to emphasise the latter but we still call them prisons.

        By and large I agree with rehabilitating criminals as much as possible, however there are cases where all we can do is keep them locked up. This does not mean we should stack them in like cordwood. Even if they're animals, we're not, so we maintain a minimal lev

      • You missed a reason. A rather less noble reason, but still a real one.

        [4] To satisfy the people's sense of justice by letting them see suffering inflicted upon those regarded as deserving suffering.

    • It's a lot deeper than that. "Tough on crime" in the American way, is tough on victims. Take a man who is accused of breaking a law. Subject him to a courthouse without justice where innocence is secondary to getting him through the system .Show him the system doesn't give the tiniest shit about him. Put him a place he will be afraid for his life 24 hours a day. Humiliate him. Let him be beaten. Introduce him to a gang that promises to protect him. Don't let him talk to people who care for him except once a
      • The main interest I see in victims is on creating more.
      • http://www.motherjones.com/env... [motherjones.com]
        "So this is the choice before us: We can either attack crime at its root by getting rid of the remaining lead in our environment, or we can continue our current policy of waiting 20 years and then locking up all the lead-poisoned kids who have turned into criminals."

        • by VAXcat ( 674775 )
          Correlation doesn't imply causation. It's more likely that as the baby boomers get old and raise the average age of the population, crime goes down, since most crimes are done by the younger more active parts of a population.
          • From the article: "The gasoline lead story has another virtue too: It's the only hypothesis that persuasively explains both the rise of crime in the '60s and '70s and its fall beginning in the '90s. Two other theories -- the baby boom demographic bulge and the drug explosion of the '60 -- at least have the potential to explain both, but neither one fully fits the known data. Only gasoline lead, with its dramatic rise and fall following World War II, can explain the equally dramatic rise and fall in violent

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      I know the get tough on crime crowd will be throwing a massive shit-fit, but if you can give them something to occupy their time, it might be less shit going down in there.

      Because we don't want criminals rehabilitating and reintegrating into normal society. How can we continue to run a prison-industrial complex if we reduce recidivism rates.

      And rewards for good behaviour, pshaw, we should be training guards to beat prisoners senseless whilst ignoring sodomy in the wash room, nor should we pay prison guards enough that they wouldn't dare think about taking some bribes from inmates to smuggle in drugs. No, we should be outsourcing prison staff to the lowest possible bidder.

    • The get-tough on crime comically macho idiots are usually the first ones to commit a crime if they were in a circumstance where they needed to and felt they could get away with it. Tablets are really cheap nowadays. My only concern is that the Lithium Ion batteries could be dangerous. I think the highest priority for prison is cameras with audio and night vision capability everywhere inside including aimed at the cell (when they need privacy they could have a small designated area in the cell that is out of

      • The get tough on crime type know in their heart of hearts that they are criminals and that scares them, so what does a criminal propose be done about crime, especially a not very bright one? Commit crime on criminals of course!
    • Who is convincing whom? The tablet company with a big idea for a very specific and characteristic niche (feels like sour-sweet to think of specifying such trinket), or some mental health and (?)-institution looking for solutions for specific and general problems in society and penal theory? It MAY act as an incentive for some people to send themselves to jail only to have access to a tablet from time to time! You are providing a value where you are supposed to grant only punishment and limbo, not Dante!
  • Obligatory Community reference:
    http://community-sitcom.wikia.... [wikia.com]

  • These will be used 99.9% for porn.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Saturday March 25, 2017 @08:54AM (#54107999) Journal
    Remember we are talking about "innovation" coming from for-profit prisons.

    They operate on cost plus contracts, with practically unlimited access to tax payer funds. If some court somewhere rules "inmates must have access to gym equipment", they could build a 2 million dollar gym in the prison and mop up 20% of it or build 20K gym and get 20% of that. Which one would they choose?

    These prison companies charge 2 $ a minute for a phone call. Yes, in this day and age of unlimited voice and data, voice calls out of prison costs the inmates or their families 2$ a minute. Do you think this new fangled tablets are going to provided to them at reasonable costs you and I pay outside the prisons? You have not seen the twinkling dollar signs in the eyes of prison management executives.

    The prison companies pressure judges to use harsh prison sentences using social media and slanted local news coverage. Lobby the legislators for minimum sentencing guidelines. Encourage law suites that will increase the cost of incarceration. More it costs, more is their margin! They also actually bribe judges to be harsh. Only a few judges like the one in Wilkes-Barry PA got caught, but that is just the tip of the iceberg.

    We have to outlaw private sector prisons. It is a crying shame USA has the highest incarceration rate in the world and adding insult to injury we are paying through our noses for it.

    • I agree but your post is off topic. Indiana seems to be trying to avoid using this as a service, and using it more for pacification. Other states have implemented the service model, but I see no indication here.

      I would support Indiana and encourage them away from fees, rather than attacking a problem that exists elsewhere.

      • Thanks for the clarification. I was mistaken, it looks like, to attribute it to some gold digging scheme by some PHB in for-profit-prisons.
  • by No Longer an AC ( 4611353 ) on Saturday March 25, 2017 @09:10AM (#54108033)

    I saw another article about this a month ago.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/ne... [cbsnews.com]

    They may be able to customize how locked down they are depending on the facility where they're used.

    In this article they pay 5 cents a minute.

    Inmates can text and call up to 10 contacts who must be screened and approved by the company. Telmate monitors and stores data on the inmates’ communications, providing the information to investigator

    Better article:

    http://cbs6albany.com/news/loc... [cbs6albany.com]

    Inmates can't surf the web on the devices but they are allowed to talk to or text up to 10 contacts. The sheriff says Telmate, the company that created the tablet software, checks those people out before any communication occurs.
    “As well as vetting the person they look for buzzwords, encrypted messages trying to come through,” Apple said.

  • So instead of waiting for a family member to visit for relaying hit orders to the brute squad, they can do it via email or chat?

  • I hope nobody gets it in their minds to make inmates peddle or watch ads to reimburse their privileged tablet. And I can think of many other tasks... Next to that, like pen and paper a tablet could be the same kind of tool. But what does really make the behavioral difference required when freedom is granted back?
    • Can you rephrase the question? I'm not quite sure you understand what you are asking. What is the base behavior you want change from? Is change all that matters or is it sufficient for someone who was killing women to switch to killing men? People don't really think these things through.
      • by Skinkie ( 815924 )
        As example; lets assume that in some cases insufficient funds would be the root cause of criminal activities. The justice system wants to provide retribution for society, but also would need to prepare the inmate at some time to join that same society again. But without a job, means of living, a motivation, that is just not going to happen hence the prison system provides education, a tablet for e-learning can help with that, like books currently do.

        In The Netherlands some evidence based online psycholog
  • ...why, for a goodly chunk of the population, it wouldn't just be better to become a ward of the state, again?

  • I live in Illinois and have a very high-stress IT job. I should just drive the 90 miles and commit armed robbery at the first gas station. I could basically do the same thing I do today, but without the stress, pressure, or cost of living I have now.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah because living in a prison is stress and pressure free! Also everything you've accumulated over your lifetime will be gone, because you won't be able to pay to store and preserve it! Yay for freedom from cost of living! Plus of course once you get out, if you ever get out, you can kiss away any chance of retaining your high-stress IT career. No one in the field's ever going to hire an ex-con! You can look forward to a life free from all the stresses of the IT field!

    • well under gop healthcare plan you may have to and you just need to rob a bank to go to a fed lockup. Bette healthcare then states.

    • by skam240 ( 789197 )

      Okay, so go do that then. No one is stopping you but yourself.

      Or maybe that's just a really dumb thing you just said.

  • ...is a tablet vendor account exec playing golf with some senior official at the state corrections office. Whether it's a good idea for the inmates or society is purely secondary.

  • I've long been an advocate of e-books or tablets for inmates as they have the potential to catch on and be a real game changer if the politically correct sadists don't shoot down the problem. Staggering amounts of people who end up in jail/prison lack basic literacy skills. Far too many jails also lack decent libraries, or even opportunities to finish school. Start using audio books and movies with captioning and you'll see the problem with recidivism begin to solve itself. Empowering inmates with educat

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