Wireless Tablets for Prisoners Seen as an Important Management Tool
Date:  02-28-2014

Designed for use in a correctional setting, tablet allows inmates to connect with families, while cutting costly administrative task s
A new device offers prisoners a chance to enter the technology age before they reenter the community. A wireless tablet made by Telmate is being marketed to correctional facilities as way to help inmates with reentry, while saving the correctional facility money. Designed with security measures in mind, the Telmate tablet allows prisoners to communicate with loved ones, and allows resources to be accessed. For those who are incarcerated far from family, or for those family members who are unable to travel because of health reasons, or due the prohibitive costs associated with visiting, the tablet will be beneficial. However, prisoner rights advocates expressed concerns that communicating by tablet will eliminate contact visits between inmates and loved ones at some facilities. Being able to physically hug and kiss a child, spouse, or parent is an important part of strengthening the bond between family members. And while using a tablet to communicate might reduce the flow of contraband items brought into a correctional facility by a visitor, it will do nothing to prevent contraband from being brought in by unscrupulous guards.

The tablet will also let prison staff keep closer tabs on the inmates who use them. As any inmate will tell you, there is no privacy in prison. Prison staff read letters to and from inmate, phone calls, and in some prisons emails, are monitored. The Telmate tablet will provide yet another method of monitoring. The tablet is touted as an investigative tool to gather evidence on prisoners suspected of being involved in criminal activity, a sort of quasi NSA intelligence gathering action.

It remains to be seen if the Telmate tablet will be embraced by other correctional facilities across the country. Equally important is whether or not prisoners embrace it. One thing is for sure, modern technology has made its way into one of the last bastions of unenlightened policies, prisons.

The following press release was issued by Telmate, makers of a tablet designed specifically for use by inmates.

TAMPA, FL, February 3, 2014 – Inmate communications leader, Telmate unveils its revolutionary wireless inmate tablet at this week’s American Correctional Association Conference. The Telmate Tablet is a secure, wireless device specifically designed for corrections facilities that transforms the way inmates spend their time and helps improve public safety.

Beginning in 2013, Telmate has been installing its tablet devices in correctional facilities throughout Idaho and Oregon and is currently serving thousands of inmates with its secure wireless service. The new technology includes a number of features that benefit both correctional officers and inmates — all at no cost to taxpayers.

The Telmate Tablet allows inmates to communicate with their friends and family using the modern methods they’re familiar with, including secured messaging, photo sharing and more. This new mobile tool goes further, transforming an inmate’s day from “wasted time” to “productive time” offering inmates the opportunity for self-improvement through continuing education, job skill training, addiction counseling and more.

Bingham County Sheriff’s Office Captain Mark Cowley believes in the power of the new devices. “Decreasing inmate movement means decreasing possible illegal contact and transmission of contraband among inmates. In addition, tablets help automate repetitive high-cost administrative tasks so officers can focus more on security and control.”

The Telmate Tablet is rapidly becoming an important tool for correctional facilities, helping them reduce inmate violence, increase control and improve public safety. In addition to reducing inmate movement and automating administrative tasks, the tablet captures detailed usage activity increasing staff knowledge and control, and provides investigators with a rich source of actionable data. With a wide range of education and self-improvement resources, the tablet is also helping inmates to productively return to society, reducing the rate of recidivism.

When asked about security, Commander Mike Anderson from Clark County replied “Inmates see the use as a privilege, they don’t want to jeopardize.” After 35 years of law enforcement experience, the Commander is very excited about the tablet and believes it is a great inmate management tool and truly cutting-edge technology for the corrections environment. “I see the tablet as an important tool, as we embark upon our inmate reentry program, Anderson added. “A successful inmate reentry program is just one of the keys to reducing crime and increasing public safety,” he said.

According to the Administrative Office of the United States Courts Federal Probation Journal, inmates who are better adjusted to the prison environment and connected to the outside world are more likely to refrain from conduct that would cause them to receive disciplinary infractions or jeopardize early release. (Source: Administrative Office of the United States Courts Federal Probation Journal).

For more information about the Telmate Tablet, please visit telmate.com/tablet.

About Telmate:

Telmate is the third largest and fastest growing inmate communications provider in the Unites States and is a leader in customer service and cutting-edge technologies including video visitation, secure messages, mobile applications and investigator tools. The Telmate communication system is deployed in nearly 250 facilities throughout 42 states and four Canadian provinces. Telmate is headquartered in Ontario, Oregon with an additional office in San Francisco, CA." To find out more about Telmate, click here to go to website.