All prisoners the U.S. state New York are to be given free tablet computers. The freebies are part a deal struck a private communications service called JPay and New York's prison service. The lucrative but controversial agreement involves the contractor providing 54,700 convicts a free tablet. The tablets will not be Internet enabled, but prisoners will be able to get limited, but monitored, online access plugging their device into approved kiosks specific times. Inmates will be allowed to email an approved list family and friends; order certain music, books and videos; and file grievances and reports abuse. All of this activity will be heavily monitored prison staff.
Prisoner support services welcomed the free tablet initiative. They called it a "game-changer" and a "huge step forward". A New York State official said the tablets would help prisoners remain closer to their families, and reduce tensions prisoners and prison guards. However, law enforcement agencies are questioning the wisdom giving tablets to convicts. Some law enforcement officers described it as a good example how crime does pay. Top police officer Ed Mullins questioned why prisoners were getting free tablets when other people society are struggling. He said: "Little is done the homeless, mentally ill, and hard-working people who can't afford tablets New York State."