Alabama Plans To Provide Tablet Computers, Wi-Fi For Prisoners

June 22, 2017

The Alabama Department of Corrections is considering a plan to add tablet computer to existing corrections educational programs offered to inmates at state male correctional facilities to help prepare inmates for reentry back into society and to reduce the state’s inmate recidivism rate.

The technology would allow inmates to receive educational training by using the tablets in an individual or classroom setting.  The technology would give Inmates access to a training curriculum such as adult basic literacy, life skills, GED services, and entry level vocational training.

“The Alabama Department of Corrections is following a nationally recognized evidenced-based approach to securely and cost-effectively provide advanced educational technologies that will help strengthen and expand reentry services leading to lower recidivism rates and contributing to public safety,” said Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn.

Dunn added that the ADOC implemented the educational technology at the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in 2015 and issued 60 learning tablets to inmates that were donated to the institution by the J.F. Ingram Technical College with much success.

The tablets issued to the male facilities would be managed through a secure wireless network with protocols for denying inmates access to the Internet and outside computer and communication systems.   In addition, the technology could provide for secure inmate telephone services which some state department of corrections have already implemented.

The ADOC is in the preliminary stages of the plan and if it moves forward, the tablets would be included in the inmate telephone contract that goes out for an open bid later this year.

Corrections officials said no new funding would be required to purchase the tablets.  The ADOC would lower the calling rates for inmates and cover the cost of the tablets by lowering the department’s commission received from the telephone contract.


34 Responses to “Alabama Plans To Provide Tablet Computers, Wi-Fi For Prisoners”

  1. nr torm on September 21st, 2017 11:43 am

    My brother was brutally murdered by one of these women. She got 5 yrs in state prison. There’s a reason they call it the criminal justice system, it only works for the criminals.

  2. David Huie Green on June 25th, 2017 9:43 am

    “If they have a cell phone”

    So, how many do?

    David for Samsung

  3. David on June 25th, 2017 9:07 am

    Oh…I have a great idea…lets all get a “adopt an inmate” program going and twice a week have Starbucks delivered to them……so they will feel they belong ” to the now generation”
    Shoot…lets go for broke…lets carry our adopted inmate to “bands on the beach”

  4. Mike Honcho on June 24th, 2017 1:44 pm

    If they have a cell phone they have the internet and yes they can post

  5. David Huie Green on June 24th, 2017 8:07 am

    “I cannot help but wonder how many of these comments are from inmates.”

    Few, because they don’t have internet access.

    David for numbers

  6. Avis on June 23rd, 2017 10:17 pm

    I cannot help but wonder how many of these comments are from inmates.

  7. Just saying on June 23rd, 2017 8:03 pm

    First, reading comprehension seems to be a big problem here. NOWHERE did it say these would be used for entertainment. It DOES state that they will be used for educational purposes.
    Second, you COs can lie to yourselves and your families if you want, but the sad unmitigated truth is that COs abuse inmates every day.
    Third, yes, there are inmates running scams just as there are COs running scams.
    Fourth, if you lock them up and treat them like animals… the end result will be that you have….what? ANIMALS!!!!! This will in turn put the COs in even MORE danger.
    Fifth, a lot of these inmates have ZERO computer literacy and may even be completely illiterate. Releasing them back into society without those skills is just asking for them to do something else and come back to prison!
    Sixth, if you want an inmate to be “rehabilitated”, you have to stop and think about the reasons most come back. That would be things like no education, no housing, no job opportunities, etc. If we don’t want them to commit crimes, we have to give them the help they need to build a life after prison. Yes, some HAVE done this successfully “on their own”, but it is soooo much harder than you think. If we don’t help them reenter society with the tools they need to stay away from drugs and lead a productive life, we are, in effect, guaranteeing that they will commit some other offense and return to the prison life.
    I’m not saying to coddle anyone! I AM saying that treating them like animals and not giving them the tools they need to succeed… is doing a HUGE disservice to society because they are coming out WORSE than when they went in and WE have to deal with them until they are caught and returned and then we get to spend THOUSANDS MORE per inmate to incarcerate them once again! It makes no sense.

  8. Common sense on June 23rd, 2017 1:11 pm

    Man if some of you really knew what goes on behind the prison walls. The scams these guys run. These inmates get RICH while incarcerated. This is one of the reasons they don’t mind coming back.

  9. I understand but... on June 23rd, 2017 10:31 am

    See. I get it. They don’t need these things but not every inmate qualifies for education assistance or career management so with that being said not every inmate gets to have a tablet. These are all court appointed services or the inmate has to request and be approved for these things. And let’s be honest. I’d rather them be learning something useful and maybe hacking through firewalls and incriptions to look at porn or whatever rather then using their 24 hours a day 7 days a week to forge shanks to use against officers and other gang members.

  10. No Excuses on June 23rd, 2017 8:49 am

    @Common Sense:

    Once again, my main issue with these comments is that most people either did not READ the article, or if they did, they didn’t understand it. I was attempting to add some clarity. You may feel any way you wish, but it doesn’t make you right and it doesn’t make me wrong.

    I am actually quite conservative. I can, however, allow myself to look at things from different points of view and come up with my own idea of what works and what doesn’t.

    I don’t trust ANY inmate. However, as I have stated before, if people can’t change, then what’s the point?

    Nod: Try your way and see how many officers get killed simply because the inmates have nothing better to do than plot trouble.

    I’m done. Say what you will.

  11. David Huie Green on June 22nd, 2017 11:51 pm

    “The biggest problem with our criminal justice system is once someone has paid their debt to society they are still flagged as a criminal. That flag gets them denied employment, and in some cases education. What do you think will happen when a Man can’t find legal employment….. You want to help them reenter society, remove that flag or pass a law to prevent employers from using that flag against them.”

    So your proposal is to lie to people so they won’t realize they are hiring convicted criminals in preference to people who have not been convicted of committing criminal acts against others?

    Nobody ever “pays their debt to society” just by being in prison. That is a lie folks tell each other. Very likely the damage they have done can never be paid or undone. In fact, keeping them in prison cost society more, just less than letting them run around freely and prey on the helpless.

    Some will still give them a chance when they are released, but they need to know in advance what they are doing, not be tricked into it by hiding the truth from them.

    David for open truth — not hidden lies

  12. David Huie Green on June 22nd, 2017 11:42 pm

    ” Funny when you teach someone a different way to live and are FORCED to be nicer to them that they tend to do better and stay out of trouble.”

    You mean actually setting a good example works better than setting a bad example?


    David for good examples

  13. Common sense on June 22nd, 2017 9:02 pm

    You’re beating around the bush about your official title. If you have worked where I worked then you would not be making these statements. I can tell you put too much trust in inmates.

  14. Nod on June 22nd, 2017 8:56 pm

    The best way to stay out of trouble in prison is to stay out of trouble period and never go to prison to begin with. Or am i being unreasonable? Education and job training
    Has been offered to everyone so they are without excuse. They are just a bunch of losers. Lock them in a cell when they get to prison and don’t let them out till it is time to leave. No tv no reading material no nothing but basic necessities. Then no trouble in prison.

  15. No Excuses on June 22nd, 2017 8:25 pm

    Common Sense:

    Wrong. I’m in the middle of the inmates ALL DAY LONG. I also attended the same training academy that our CO’s attended, and I can use self-defense, firearms and can work in concert with CO’s to help quell disturbances if needed. We are all “correctional workers first” and I have filled CO posts many times when we were short.

    My main issue with the comments being made here is that people did not read the article. If you want to effect change with a high risk population, you have to help them to see a better way. If they could do it themselves, they would have done so before now.

    You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but don’t tell me that after 20 years of contact with inmates that I don’t know what’s going on. That’s just plain foolish.

  16. Common sense on June 22nd, 2017 7:54 pm

    @no excuses
    You obviously wasn’t a CO or you wouldn’t have said what you did. Or either you worked in a prison with no inmate contact.

  17. Chris in Molino on June 22nd, 2017 6:28 pm

    @common sense—If you want to blame someone for the way central office or the administration is about officers and use of force, blame your old timer brother officers. Cause that’s how it was. Building prisons in rural areas where everyone is dependent upon DOC. Billy Bob gets his son a job who has heard nothing but inmate this inmate that. I’ve seen lots of abuse at FSP in the 90’s. But risking your life, man please. AGAIN- you can count the number of officers killed by inmates on one hand in the entire history of FDOC. Your just as likely to get killed in a car wreck, by a shark, or by lightning.

  18. Common sense on June 22nd, 2017 5:45 pm

    To those few who believe inmates are abused and mistreated, y’all couldn’t be more wrong!! 30 years ago maybe. Idk. I didn’t work there then. Today? Hell no!! They have to go in that hellish place everyday for 12hours, sometimes 16 due to short staff, and put up with being harassed by inmates, cussed out, spit on, feces and urine thrower on them etc. When they do use force they are harassed by the administration as to why they did. Their hands are tied just like cops on the street. They do risk their lives daily. Going home isn’t a certain thing every day. If you don’t believe that then take your ass to a prison and work just 1 week.

  19. No Excuses on June 22nd, 2017 2:56 pm

    Sigh. Do you people even READ these articles?

    Point one: The tablets are for educational programming ONLY and are locked for any further use. We use them quite successfully in the federal prison system. They don’t chat on the internet or look up porn. The computer only goes to the educational programming required.

    Point two: The GED test (2014) version is available ONLY on computers. The only way an inmate can get a paper based test is if he/she has proven medical needs that require that particular accommodation. Therefore, some practice on computers is necessary so that they can successfully take the test. Inmates who pursue further education have a significantly lower rate of recidivism.

    Point three: They already have to pay for inmate phones (which should be a closed, locked and monitored system) so adding internet protocol fees should not be that much more. The same monitoring would apply to the tablets. It’s not a free for all.

    Last point: You can’t just lock them up and throw away the key. I fully realize that inmates who don’t wish to be rehabilitated will be back, but those who want to make an honest change in their lives will do so by using these programs to improve their chances upon release. Educational and vocational programming also reduce inmate idleness and help to keep the staff and other inmates safer because they aren’t up to no good because they don’t have anything else to do.

    Try taking a POSITIVE look at some of this stuff for a change! I am speaking from 20 years of experience as a correctional worker/educator. This is the last chance some of these prisoners may have.

  20. Brian on June 22nd, 2017 2:33 pm

    Unbelievable — our tax dollars at work!!! This is why we never can send the government enough tax money in their minds because they spend it on nonsense like this instead using it appropriately!

  21. Chris in Molino on June 22nd, 2017 1:28 pm

    Oh, by the way, some of you who agree with officers being the nasty, fat, lazy, mean, abusive, ignorant fools they used to be in the 90’s, get this. The recidivism rate has dramatically dropped since then and continues to drop every year. It also correlates that every year prisoners seem to get treated better, more programs, less beatings, etc. Funny when you teach someone a different way to live and are FORCED to be nicer to them that they tend to do better and stay out of trouble. Wow, I can’t believe it. But no we should give officers more control (code for going back to the old way of doing business).

  22. Chris in Molino on June 22nd, 2017 1:16 pm

    @yolanda giles–Your absolutely 100% correct. And that also comes from the government. Any temp agency, that most companies use nowadays because they provide payroll, workers comp ins, health ins, etc. will not hire a felon. Background check for everything.
    @Tellmewhy—Another ignorant comment. Risk their lives everyday, puleeeze. Go ahead, give me some stats. You can count the number of guards killed by an inmate on one hand in over 100 years of FDOC history. So try another route buddy.

  23. Brenda on June 22nd, 2017 12:58 pm

    They done a crime. Don’t let them have any freedom. Tree them as prisoners.

  24. shocked on June 22nd, 2017 12:33 pm

    I’m shocked about the comments here. I don’t think anybody of these hateful commenters really tried to understand the reasons. There are really good reasons for it. It’s needed. Honestly I think they only try to bully on the inmates because they are so frustrated with their own life. A shame. It’s a good idea. It’s needed. And it will work out. The reason why officers are so frustrated are other ones. Also there are too many that don’t understand their job. Hate is no solution. Nowhere.

  25. George on June 22nd, 2017 11:20 am

    Since my dad can not buy me a new tablet, l just go to prison and get one free.

  26. anne 1of2 on June 22nd, 2017 11:14 am

    So, all people have to do is commit a crime, then they can received advanced educational opportunities . Let the jerks sit there with nothing to do so they can think about the reason they are are in prison. What is all this entertainment crap? Let’s put this one on the voting ballot and see how us taxpayers feel about this reward for prisoners!
    Common Sense, your comment was painful to read and 100% spot on!

  27. bartender on June 22nd, 2017 11:05 am

    never heard such a crazy idea.they wonder why officers quit.they get better treatment that our vetrans and seniors.the seniors needs air conditioners for there home and alot of vetrans are homeless and sick.what is wrong with this stupied goverement.why would they want to get out of prison.3 meals a day a bed and now computer.who says they cant get acccess to porn stuff. and we wonder where our money we know. alot of those bad inmates will never get out because of murder and rape so why should we make it easy for them

  28. Yolanda Giles on June 22nd, 2017 11:02 am

    You can provide them with all the information and tools to make them employable and it won’t mean anything if no one is willing to hire them. The biggest problem with our criminal justice system is once someone has paid their debt to society they are still flagged as a criminal. That flag gets them denied employment, and in some cases education. What do you think will happen when a Man can’t find legal employment….. You want to help them reenter society, remove that flag or pass a law to prevent employers from using that flag against them. I understand that if you served time for robbing a bank you can’t work as a teller at one or if you were arrested for rape of child you can’t get a job at a day care or become a school teacher, but that bank robber can’t become a trash man, that rapist can’t be the IT rep for direct TV.

    Some state allow for expungement but you have to wait a number of years after release to apply for it. What should you do in the meantime because no one want to hire you. A lot of people are repeat offenders because they have to eat and can’t without gainful employment , the only options are minimum wage jobs and we all know you can’t live off that.

  29. Tell me why on June 22nd, 2017 9:55 am

    Tell me why, they get computers,(to harass the victims they hurt, look up porn), tell me why they get concerts(free), tell me why they get steak dinners or special menus, (when there are children starving on the outside), tell me why they have cable TV, CRAP I wouldn’t want to live on the outside either. When you can have the life of Raleigh in prison. They pay no bills.
    They committed crimes, or they wouldn’t be in prison. Killing, robbing, raping, stealing, doing drugs, domestic abuse etc. Make them do the time, bring back hard labor. They should be working. Take away the good life in prison.
    Then give the officers, a raise, better insurance, and the respect they need and deserve. They risk their life everyday when the walk through those gates. They have no protection, and no RESPECT…
    Many prayers for the officers. and a big THANK YOU..

  30. Chris in Molino on June 22nd, 2017 8:34 am

    @Common sense—– Wow ! When the shoes on the other foot seems like the officers are doing what inmates used to do.
    So gone are the days where the whole family works at the prison cause the pay is great compared to the qualifications you need for the job. Gone are the days at FSP where they keep tin over the windows of a cell that gets up to 130°f. Where guards gas and beat inmates for talking. I can go on and on. But everything is cyclical. The guards time will eventually come back around.

  31. DJC on June 22nd, 2017 8:28 am

    Sounds like they’re trying to get them a passifier to make the guards jobs a bit easier. They shouldn’t have the privilege to a computer. Especially the Internet. That could be dangerous.

  32. shake your foundations on June 22nd, 2017 8:16 am

    It could be used as an incentive to keep order in the prison;acting out would result in the plug being pulled. These inmates are getting tablets and phones into the system anyway so why not regulate it and use it to maintain order in the facility?

  33. Les Bridges on June 22nd, 2017 7:15 am

    “…cover the cost of the tablets by lowering the department’s commission received from the telephone contract.”

    If it lowers their commission then it lowers their revenue. How does that offset anything? Must be liberal math.

  34. Tirred on June 22nd, 2017 5:28 am

    You know , if we START treating these Criminals as Criminals they just might not EVER want to go back & fly STRAIGHT when released!!

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