Assemblyman criticizes plan to give prisoners free tabletsPosted: Updated:
A new state plan to give tablet devices to thousands of criminals behind bars is drawing criticism, including from a state assemblyman.
Assemblyman James Skoufis says he has reached out to the New York state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, which announced the free tablet initiative last week, to voice his outrage at the concept.
“I don't think DOCCS’ priority - anyone's priority - should be to make sure people who break the law should be able to play music in their jail cell,” he says.
But DOCCS says there are benefits to giving inmates access to digital content like eBooks, music and email - including creating safer facilities with less idle time for prisoners and easier re-entry into the community.
It also says that the tablets are being provided for free by a company that specializes in corrections-related services.
A representative for DOCCS says the free tablet program is already being tested in several state prisons with positive feedback from both staff and inmates.
According to the state, inmates will also be able to file grievances on their tablets, as well as report crimes behind bars.
Officials say the program is expected to be fully launched later this year.