GREAT FALLS – The Cascade County Sheriff’s Office is joining other institutions across the state in providing tablets to inmates, with the launch of its “Inmate Tablet Education Program.”
Deputy Sheriff Cory Reeves said in a press release that the tablets will be distributed to all inmates in the prison. Reeves says the tablets are packed with resources for communication, education and employment because the goal is to reduce recidivism and help people move forward with their lives once they leave prison.
While some may see this as an unnecessary luxury for inmates, the program emphasizes education and communication, and the sheriff’s office believes it could have a big impact.
“We want inmates to have access, in some way, to the outside world,” Director Joe Visser said.
The 450 tablets are part of the contract the sheriff’s office has with the company that operates the electronic kiosks in the detention center. The tablets were actually ordered about a year ago, but due to supply shortages they had just arrived.
“They can buy a tablet subscription. It’s a one-time payment of $ 5 and it gives you 30 days and it’s your device. Or, you can make a community. library books, if you want to jump in there and do some educational stuff, ”Visser said.
Inmates can also use the tablets to make phone calls, watch movies or listen to music, but will not have access to social media.
“Phone calls are important. A lot of mental health issues are away from family, friends, things like that. Educational stuff, they can get their GED, they can take classes. They can take classes on the. drug addiction, chemical addiction, things like alcohol addiction, “Visser explained.” So that gives them the opportunity, while they’re here, to find resources, so when they go out, that ‘ is an easier transition to the community. ”
Sheriff’s office staff visited other facilities using tablets and found the tablets to be beneficial, especially for education.
Detention officers have ‘officer’s tablets’ and can monitor each inmate’s tablet, approve an email message before it is forwarded to the recipient, and will continue to monitor all phone calls made from the tablets, just like they monitor regular phone calls now for the safety and security of staff and inmates.
Joe Visser, Director of the Cascade County Detention Center
Because the tablets are part of a contract, they did not cost the sheriff’s office any additional money. Replacement tablets, however, will cost $ 200.
According to the press release:
Our tablets will provide prisoners with access to essential content that enriches their lives and helps them prepare for a successful return to school. Inmates benefit from educational and self-help opportunities via tablets, which allows them to prepare for success in the future.
We believe that education, professional or otherwise, is essential to reduce recidivism; therefore, a comprehensive educational catalog is free to use on tablets. There are educational materials and videos, as well as exercises and tests, which allow an inmate to follow lessons at their own pace.
Other examples of tablet content are Adult Basic Education, GED Preparation, College Credit, Vocational Training, Life Skills, Job Search and Preparation, Mental Health, addiction recovery, religious resources and parenting and family. Our Tablet program also gives our inmates the option of paying to watch movies, listen to music, read e-books, play games, and access Newsstand.
Inmates can talk to family and friends through tablets, as they communicate like a phone, and they can receive e-mail.
Reeves says this is a year-long project with Securus that has finally come to fruition and that they are “excited to roll out these powerful tablets in our prison, costing our taxpayers nothing.”
We will keep you posted if we get more information.