The Canyon County Sheriff’s Office says wireless tablets have been added to common rooms in the Canyon County Jail.
According to the CCSO, the tablets will, “benefit inmates, friends and family and facilities. Inmates have an additional way to stay in touch and connect with the outside world through a variety of means such as secure messaging, photos, content, music and gaming and more. Tablets also benefit inmate wellbeing by helping turn idle, stressful time into positive time, and by giving inmates access to needed tools such as paperless grievances, requests, crime tips and PREA reports.”
The company supplying the tablets is San Francisco based Telmate Tablets which supplies 35 facilities nationally, generating three million minutes of usage per month. The tablets are linked to Telmate Verified which is an identity verification system that documents deposits, visits, photos and messages of inmates.
Telmate supplied the tablets at no cost. In return, inmates pay five cents per minute to use certain features including texting.
Lieutenant Andrew Kiehl says jail staff is able to monitor all communication on the devices.
In order to use the tablet, inmates are required to punch in a personalized PIN number. The device then takes their photo. Kiehl says jail staff can monitor these interactions to assure each inmate is using the tablet responsibly.
“We originally had reservations about offering a mobile technology like tablets to inmates, because of concerns they could weaponize the devices,” admitted Jail Commander, Captain Daren Ward, a 20-year veteran of Canyon’s jail staff.
However, after the tablets were implemented on October 20th, the CCSO reported that jail staff did not have any reported incidents around the tablets involving misuse.
The tablets are used to help minimize inmate moment in regard to the law library access, reducing physical mail, contraband issues and by serving as an effective inmate behavior tool.
Inmates were found to have respected the tablets knowing that any misuse would lead to a suspension of use.
“Inmates are more engaged with news, entertainment, and music on tablets, which makes them less stressed and less inclined to cause trouble,” Ward said.
“We are proud to expand our technology offerings at Canyon County with the addition of Telmate Tablets,” said Telmate Chief Marketing Officer, Jeff Hansen. “With this newest piece of the puzzle in our technology solution, Canyon County will be able to help inmates connect with the outside world, while experiencing an increase in operational efficiencies and crime fighting intelligence.”