It is impossible to live in the 21st century without using a computer. Today, you can’t drive, get work done, or pay for a cup of coffee without a computer.think we have Our smartphones have more computing power than NASA First moon landing in 1969.
When you’re in prison, you’re not living in the real world. Prisoners are sent back in time to a world without modern technology, which makes almost everything in life more difficult. Getting anything done in time is a challenge, and communicating with people outside often seems next to impossible.
Prison staff, of course, use computers like everyone else in the free world, but if they have access to the Internet, they must lock their devices away. But what about prisoners? Have they ever used computers in prison?
Which leads to today’s blog post: Can you use a computer in prison?
In this blog post, I will cover the following topics:
- Do prisoners use computers in educational and vocational courses?
- Do prisoners have access to computers in their housing units?
Do prisoners use computers in educational and vocational courses?
Prisons go to great lengths to ensure that prisoners do not have access to the internet, as this is a huge security risk. Also, isolating prisoners from the outside world is part of their punishment. However, this does not mean that prisoners do not use computers.
Inmates have access to computers in many educational programs, some of which actually teach inmates how to use different software.
Libraries also provide computers, especially in the law library, as LexisNexis is pretty much the only way prisoners can do research for their appeals. However, the quality and quantity of computers varies by location, and the computer resources available to prisoners may be very outdated.
It’s also a shame because there are many Online Course Platform This is where instructors can sell lessons and where prisoners can learn valuable skills.
Some prisoners’ prison administration jobs require them to use computers. However, again, these computers do not have access to the internet.
Do prisoners have access to computers in their housing units?
Today, most prisons have computer kiosks for inmates to use in their housing units. Located in break rooms or other common areas, these kiosks allow inmates to order their weekly canteen supplies, phone time and stamps. Some also allow prisoners to receive video footage of loved ones.
The trend these days is the inmate tablet. These weren’t available when I was incarcerated, but they’ve become more common over the past few years. Companies such as JPay and GTL have developed inmate tablets that they can buy from the mess hall, which allow prisoners to send and receive monitored emails, buy media (music, books, and movies), take lessons, and play games.
Of course, these tablets do not have access to the internet. From what I understand, when inmates have their own tablets, they have to connect them to kiosks in the housing unit (using wires) to download their messages and media they have purchased.
Using tablets in prisons has actually had a positive impact. Some companies, such as Edovo, have developed tablets with educational software and other content that are paid for by the facility and given free to prisoners.
“The people we work with are interested in rehabilitation,” says Mitchell Peterman, who leads business development for Edovo. “Sometimes there is initial skepticism, but after a few weeks they find that people are quieter and there is less violence. It makes their lives easier.”
So, the answer to today’s blog post is technically yes, prisoners can use computers in prison. However, this is very different from your experience in the free world. And if you see prisoners posting on social media, they’re taking a huge risk because the equipment they’re using is illegal contraband.
Some inmates do have social media profiles maintained by loved ones, and those are fine. But if you see a video clip of someone in jail, that’s all kinds of bad news. If they get caught, they go to the hole for a long, long time.
Do you think prison inmates should use computers? Let us know in the comments below.
Sources: In U.S. Prisons, Tablets Open Window To the Outside World Digitizing the 21st Century Prison