Prisoners in the U.S. state of New York will get free tablet computers. The 54,700 free tablets are from a private communications contractor working with New York's prisons. The tablets will not be Internet-enabled. Prisoners will get limited, but monitored, online access by plugging into special kiosks at specific times. Prisoners will be allowed to email an approved list of family and friends. They can order certain music, books and videos, and write about reports of abuse. All of these activities will be carefully checked by prison staff.
Prisoner support services welcomed the free tablet project. They called it a "huge step forward". A New York State official said the tablets would help prisoners stay closer to their families. It would lower tensions between prisoners and guards. However, police officers are questioning why convicts are getting free tablets. Some said it was a good example of how crime pays. A top police officer said prisoners shouldn't get free tablets when other people in society are struggling. He said: "Little is done for the homeless, mentally ill, and hard-working people who can't afford tablets."