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Electronic Tablets for Inmates Approved by Travis County

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KXAN reports that inmates in Travis County will now have access to electronic tablets (similar to iPads, but not quite as sophisticated and expensive.) The decision was made Tuesday morning by The Travis County Commissioners Court in the hopes that the devices will help inmates to make the transition to productive citizens once they are released from the Travis County Jail.

The tablets will come from Securus Technology, which the jail has worked with for many years for phone services. At this time, the hundreds of tablets will be free, but the company reserves the right to start charging down the line.

Many people might jump to the conclusion that the tablets will be abused, but officials say they will only be lent out to inmates with good behavior, and the tablets will not have access to the internet. Instead, they’ll be linked up to a system with “…educational, religious and internal programs,” and allow inmates to fill out forms for GEDs and even medical paperwork. At first, the jail plans to start out with a pilot program of only 100 prisoners before branching out to offering access to their 2,500 inmates (on average).

The idea was originally reported on back in April of this year by KVUE who wrote that the decision and details were still being ironed out. They hinted that eventually, inmates could “…be able to use them to make phone calls — all from the comfort of their cell,” but there does not seem to be an update on that idea.