CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – West Virginia’s Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation has made electronic tablets available to inmates at its prison facilities.
According to a press release, these devices are designed for correctional settings. Their safety features include a highly secure, customized operating system and wide-ranging access controls. At no cost to taxpayers, Global Tel Link provides the tablets through its inmate banking services contract with the state’s prison system.
Available tablet apps offer email, video visitation, and multimedia including electronic and audio books, music, games and movies. The roster of sites covers several categories: news; education and career; health and wellness; religion and spirituality; legal and finance; and sports and entertainment. The devices will soon help inmates submit requests, file and pursue grievances, and order from the facility commissary.
“The tablets give inmates the incentive to behave and follow the rules, so they don’t lose this privilege,” said DCR Regional Director J.T. Binion. “They have given inmates an opportunity to visit with family and friends who are not able to make it to the facility. It allows their children to have more contact with them This has seemed to improve inmate moral overall.”
Free apps include the popular Khan Academy, developed by the international educational non-profit and featuring 7,000 videos and 20,000 interactive exercises on such subjects as math, science, history, economics. Another is CareerOneStop from the U.S. Department of Labor, offering a full range of career, training, and job search resources to assist with offender reentry.
After the months-long trial period, the program expanded over time to the other prison facilities. DCR plans to eventually offer them at the Bureau of Community Correction’s work-release centers. A longer-term goal is to provide them at the state’s 10 regional jails, through a future inmate services contract.