Indiana inmates may have tablets by the end of the year

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Photo provided to IndyStar courtesy of Telmate

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Every inmate in Indiana could have a computer tablet by the end of the year, according to our partners at the IndyStar.

Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) officials have proposed a plan to provide tablets to inmates through a vendor to help them stay connected with their family and further their education. They could use the tablets to access classwork and self-help material.

Inmates would also be able to pay for entertainment, and IDOC officials say they could use entertainment to reward good behavior. For example, they believe offenders would be encouraged to stop racking up misconduct reports in order to play more games.

The proposal also calls for a secure network and electronic kiosks in the 23 facilities across the state.

However, the plan is raising a lot of questions, like are taxpayers responsible for fronting the cost of the tablets?

IDOC officials told the IndyStar they hope the vendor they choose will pay for the tablets so that the responsibility won’t fall on taxpayers. The vendors will then be reimbursed and earn a profit when inmates pay for entertainment.

The entertainment fees are unknown at this time because the state is still taking applications from vendors. Vendor applications for the tablets are due by April 24. IDOC officials say they hope the tablet program will be implemented by the end of the year.

The IDOC tells the IndyStar that their main goal of the tablet program is to reduce recidivism, or the tendency to relapse to a previous behavior. The rate of recidivism in Indiana is consistently above 35 percent, according to data by the IDOC.

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