All inmates in New York State prisons will get free tablets

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NEW YORK — Each inmate incarcerated in a New York State prison will soon have a free tablet.

The tablets will give inmates access to educational content, eBooks and music, officials said. They’ll also help inmates file grievances and allow them to communicate with family and friends through a secure email system. There will be no internet access.

New York’s Department of Corrections and Community Supervision will receive the tablets for inmates as part of a deal with JPay, a company that specializes in corrections-related services, a DOC spokesperson said. The company will provide the tablets as part of a contractual agreement the state DOC entered with the company. No state funds will go toward the tablets.

JPay will make money if an inmate chooses to purchase approved additional books or items with the tablet.

DOC Acting Commissioner Anthony Annucci called the tablet plan “groundbreaking.” Officials believe the technology will better prepare individuals to re-enter the community when they leave prison.

There are about 52,000 inmates in NYS DOC facilities as of March of 2016.

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