JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Inmates in Missouri will soon have working tablet computers to use to access educational programs, radio, email, and music.
The Missouri Department of Corrections is in the process of distributing and setting up electronic JPay tablet computer devices to be used by offenders in across Missouri’s facilities. According to a news release, all tablets ordered have been delivered to facilities and most are set up, synced, and ready to use.
JPay is providing the tablets and the officer devices at no cost to the Department of Corrections. According to the department, JPay is providing all of the installation, networking, and infrastructure required and will recoup their investment by charging for the services available on the tablet.
Currently, tablets are equipped with basic applications, such as educational programs, a radio, email, movies, and music. In the next phase, incentive-based applications such as games, movies, and news will be introduced. Once those apps become available, offenders who have had three or fewer conduct violations in the past six months may be permitted to access them and make purchases.
Not all offenders will be issued tablets, the department noted. Policies regarding tablet use by offenders in segregated housing are still under development, and offenders in those units might not have access to tablets, even if they have been ordered. Offenders in the general population who want tablets can order them at no cost using the JPay kiosk.
Sending an email to an offender requires JPay stamps, which cost 25 cents each. All emails are closely monitored, the department noted. Inappropriate content is censored and will not be received by offenders. Department policy also prohibits pictures that contain text.
The tablets run on a secure wireless system accessible at designated spots. Users will not have access to outside internet. The tablets do not have cameras.
The use of tablets in Missouri’s correction centers in a brand-new program. The Department of Corrections asked for patience from inmate’s friends and families as they work through technical and logistic details during implementation.
Alisha Shurr is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University. Contact Alisha at firstname.lastname@example.org.