In what the Boston Herald dubs “Hoosegow Goes High Def,” Massachusetts has purchased 117 high-definition flatscreen TVs for inmates. at a cost of nearly $77,000. The newspaper says the purchase was made as Gov. Deval Patrick moves to lay off state workers and slash local aid in the face of the worst financial meltdown in a generation. Paid for with prisoner “canteen” funds, the state-of-the-art TVs are being installed in the common areas of all state prisons this month in anticipation of the national digital TV transition.
Worcester County Sheriff Guy Glodis said the spending “sends the wrong message when they're asking sheriff offices throughout the state to cut at least a million out of our budget.” Glodis removed TVs from his county jail. “I would argue there are other things you can spend the money on that are more conducive to rehabilitation.” The new TVs outraged an inmate advocate. “What are they thinking?” asked Leslie Walker of Massachusetts Correctional Legal Services, noting that many inmates already have TVs in their cells.