Harris County Jail inmates to use tablets in hopes of preventing violence

Pooja Lodhia Image
Saturday, June 8, 2024
Free tablets being distributed to Harris County Jail inmates
Harris County Jail inmates will receive free tablets in hopes of preventing violence and allowing them to research their cases.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Electronic tablets are coming to the Harris County Jail.

They won't cost taxpayers a penny, and administrators say they will make the jail safer and help inmates by allowing them to reach family members and research their cases.

The tablets are already in some parts of the Harris County jail and will be given to every inmate by September.

They were provided by a Dallas-based company called Securus Technologies and have been in Texas state prisons since 2021.

The tablets are strictly monitored and not fully connected to the internet.

Inmates won't be able to get on social media, and they will only be able to call people on pre-approved lists.

The tablets have free apps that give inmates access to a law library, religious texts, and self-help resources.

"Idle time can lead to issues. So that they can engage in education and other services that come on the tablets, it helps them keep busy and occupied, which in turn makes it a lower jail climate," HCSO Asst. Chief Phillip Bosquez said.

But, one of the concerns is that the technology company charges inmates for the calls.

Some say tablets are just another way to profit off a group of people with a lot of free time.

As of Friday, the average stay at the Harris County Jail is 184 days.

"I talk to my wife every night. I have five kids as well, so I get to talk to my kids, my wife, and my mom," inmate Carlos Garcia said. "We're all humans. We all make mistakes, and it's good to have something like this in jail because you know it helps you. Sometimes it gets violent in here, and this will reduce a lot of violence going on in the dorms."

Inmates can also purchase approved movies and TV shows on the tablets.

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