While some may argue that access to computer tablets at the Franklin County Regional Jail is a privilege inmates shouldn’t be granted, we believe the benefits of the program, which launched in early May, outweigh the cons.
The GTL Inspire tablets, which were provided by the company at no cost to the jail, provide some free services, including access to the law library, news items and information inquiries. However, to obtain books, music and movies on the devices, inmates are charged 2 cents to 5 cents per minute depending on the content.
The jail also generates revenue from the program. GTL reimburses the commissary fund for allowing the usage of the tablets.
FCRJ limits detainees’ tablet time to 30 minutes each week and plugs the precautionary security measures provided by the video visitation function on the devices.
This feature, for which GTL charges 21 cents per minute, makes for safer face-to-face conversations between the inmate and loved ones versus traditional physical visits and virtually eliminates the chance of contraband entering the jail.
The devices provide an additional incentive for those who wish to pursue General Educational Development (GED) diplomas while incarcerated. Thorn Hill Learning Center, which is already tops in the state for inmate GEDs (35) this year, will administer online GED prep classes and educational courses through the computer tablets.
For jail staff, who have the option to monitor inmate content on the devices, they make for a great behavioral modification tool and, according to jail official, help alleviate inmate stress.
However, the addition of the tablets — what some may even term “entertainment” — raises an interesting philosophical question regarding the purpose of incarceration. Some view it as punishment for lawbreakers. Others may say prison protects society from offenders. A third group can argue that jail is place for rehabilitation.
We believe it’s a conglomeration of all three. The inmates are serving their time for their crimes and the tablets seem to pose no threat to public safety. Yet, rehabilitation also has to be a part of the equation. If we want these folks to come out of jail better than when they went in, they need to be given tools to succeed on the outside.
Post a comment as anonymous
Watch this discussion.
Welcome to the discussion.
State-Journal.com’s comments forum is for civil, constructive dialogue about news topics in our community, state, nation and world. We emphasize “civil” at a time when Americans, in the words of the current president, need to “turn down the temperature” of political debates. The State Journal will do its part by more carefully policing this forum. Here are some rules that all commenters must agree to follow:
Absolutely no attacks on other commenters, on guest columnists or on authors of letters to the editor. Our print and online opinion pages are sacred marketplaces of ideas where diverse viewpoints are welcome without fear of retribution. You may constructively critique the ideas and opinions of others, but name-calling, stereotyping and similar attacks are strictly prohibited.
Leeway will be given for criticism of elected officials and other public figures, but civility is essential. If you focus your criticism on ideas, opinions and viewpoints, you will be less likely to run afoul of our commenting rules.
Keep comments focused on the article or commentary in question. Don’t use an article about the Frankfort City Commission, for example, to rant about national politics.
Hyperpartisanship that suggests anyone on the other side of an issue or anyone in a particular particular party is evil is not welcome. If you believe that all Democrats are socialists intent on destroying America or that all Republicans are racists, there are lots of places on the internet for you to espouse those views. State-Journal.com is not one.
No sophomoric banter. This isn’t a third-grade classroom but rather a place for serious consumers of news to offer their reactions and opinions on news stories and published commentary.
No consumer complaints about individual businesses. If you’ve had a bad experience with a private business or organization, contact the Better Business Bureau or the government agency that regulates that business. If you believe the actions of a private business are newsworthy, contact us at email@example.com and we will consider whether news coverage is merited.
Absolutely no jokes or comments about a person’s physical appearance.
No promotion of commercial goods or services. Our outstanding staff of marketing consultants stands ready to help businesses with effective advertising solutions.
If you state facts that have not been previously reported by The State Journal, be sure to include the source of your information.
No attacks on State Journal staff members or contributing writers. We welcome questions about, and criticism of, our news stories and commentary but not of the writers who work tirelessly to keep their community informed. Corrections of inaccurate information in news stories should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org rather than posted in the comments section.