Inmates in New York State prisons will soon be given free tablet computers as part of an effort to better prepare convicts for life after imprisonment.
The tablets will have access to educational content, eBooks and music, and will even allow inmates to file grievances and contact their family and friends, PIX 11 reported Wednesday. The products won’t give inmates access to the internet.
Inmates may also be able to access services that would allow them to file a report under the Prison Rape Elimination Act or place a commissary order, according to WKBW.
The station reported that inmates who plan to send emails have to do so during a scheduled time at a controlled kiosk, and can only contact people who have been approved by authorities.
The electronic devices won’t be paid for by the state of New York, but rather by corrections services company JPay as part of a contract with the New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. JPay will reportedly make money if an inmate decides to make a purchase, such as additional books, on the tablet.
The department added in a statement on Twitter that it wont be “taking commissions” from the tablets, either.
“The contract includes the company providing each inmates a tablet free of charge,” the statement read. “The tablet initiative is not dependent on the budget as there are no state funds being used, nor is the Department taking commissions.”
The department’s acting commissioner, Anthony Annucci, called the move “groundbreaking,” and officials believe the move will better prepare inmates for re-entry into the outside community.
New York State prisons house more than 50,000 inmates.