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Public has mixed reviews on inmate tablets

Sheriff insists that they will increase jail safety, reduce taxpayer costs

By C1 Staff

SPRINGFIELD, Ga. — Effingham County Jail inmates now have access to tablets that officials say will educate them and curb violence.

According to WCJL, the tablets allow inmates on the web, but with restricted access.

“They’re not just out there surfing the web, and going to Facebook and all this kind of stuff with it. I mean it’s geared toward certain things they can do, and that’s all,” said Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie.

The tablets mean increased safety for staff, as inmates no longer have to be moved in order to read books or take classes.

The devices also won’t cost taxpayers any money, as they were donated by Telmate, a communications company. Telmate also runs the jail’s phone system and has placed tablets in dozens of other facilities across the country.

The tablets run on a secure network and can be closely monitored by staff. As such, they can be disabled immediately and remotely. If anyone is caught trying to tamper with the device, or looking at things they shouldn’t be, their privileges will be revoked.

With the jail library being accessible online, it will also save taxpayers money by not having to buy new books each year.

Public views on the tablets have been mixed.

“Punishment should fit the crime and if you’re in prison, that means you’re supposed to be locked up and that mean against technology and against people you can harm,” said Springfield resident Jeri Batsford.

“It’ll be a good job for them for people to get those tablets so people can get their GED that don’t have it. It will be more better for them to get it,” said Devon Young, another resident.

While there are games on the tablets, Sheriff McDuffie insists that these tablets will make the jail a safer place.

“We don’t play games on it, it’s not a toy.”