Music is such an important part of my everyday life. My Spotify playlist is always playing in the background while I work, and I can play full concerts on the SiriusXM radio in the car.
The 21st century is a wonderful time to live for music lovers. Accessing incredible music is easier than ever, and you don’t have to go to the store and spend $20 on a full CD to access that song you love to listen to over and over again.
Can’t imagine what life would be like without music. But what about when you’re in jail? Can prisoners listen to music? Which leads to today’s blog post: Can You Have an iPod in Prison?
In this blog post, I will cover the following topics:
- How do prisoners listen to music in prison?
- Can prisoners have CD players and order CDs?
How do prisoners listen to music in prison?
Prisoners in prisons have extremely limited access to music. Unfortunately, prisoners cannot use iPods in jail. But in recent years, prison tech companies like JPay and GTL have developed special inmate tablets for them to buy (sometimes given out for free) that give prisoners the chance to buy individual songs or entire albums.
Of course, these things are very expensive (like everything else in the prison), as music subscriptions cost upwards of $25 a month. The library of songs that prisoners have access to is censored, as inmates are not allowed to listen to music with explicit lyrics.
Inmates with these tablets are required to use headphones to reduce noise, but rules are made to be broken. Since most inmates cannot afford to buy a tablet or a music subscription, inmates who have these devices sometimes share them with friends so they can have some music in their lives.
At the federal level, prisoners do have the option to purchase personal mp3 players and music. However, it’s not an iPod.
“The MP3 program is designed to help prisoners deal with incarceration-related idleness, stress and boredom,” said BOP spokeswoman Traci Billingsley, adding that “keeping prisoners productively busy is critical to the safety of prison staff. “And the prisoner.
Can prisoners have CD players and order CDs?
Because I was in jail before they released the tablet, we were allowed to access music the old fashioned way: with a CD player. Portable CD players are still available at prison kiosks, and at ridiculously high prices. If I remember correctly, I paid $49 for my portable CD player and another $25 for headphones.
However, the medallion building we were in blocked all radio signals. So if you want to listen to music, you have to buy CDs from the supplier’s catalog. We are allowed to have up to 20 CDs and have two approved suppliers who deliver CDs by mail. The whole thing reminded me of my days at Columbia House in junior high, but without the option of buying ten CDs for a penny. ha!
The CDs are vetted (no explicit content allowed) and range in price from $5 to $25. After you place your order through your caseworker, you have to wait for the CD to be mailed, which usually takes about a month.
I still have my prison CD player and my prison CD collection. The first CD I bought was Beastie Boys pure gold hit, Dave Matthews Band performs live at Wrigley Field, The Dave Matthews Band performed live in Central Park, Avett Brothers Live Vol. 3, New Kids on the Block Featuredwith Justin Timberlake’s FutureSexLoveSounds.
I can’t tell you how great it is to put on my headphones and play Dave Matthews music while I walk the track and work out. It got me out of prison for an hour, and I vividly remember traveling the country with the band in the summer of 2003.
This is absolutely the best therapy in the world.
Do you think prisoners should be allowed to listen to music? Let us know in the comments below.
Sources: “Free” Tablets Are Costing Inmates A Fortune Inmates allowed to purchase mp3 players, music