At least seven states, most recently Ohio, allow inmates to use mini-tablet computers while incarcerated, says USA Today, which calls the trend “a controversial move intended to better connect those in jail with their families and friends on the outside.” Proponents say the practice will deepen prisoners’ ties to their communities and keep them in sync with modern technology. The tablets are allowed also in Georgia, North Dakota, Louisiana, Michigan, Virginia, and Washington.
“We have anticipation and hope to make it a good educational tool,” said Ricky Seyfang of Ohio’s Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. Opponents are concerned the tablets will be used for illegal activities or brandished as weapons. Victims’ rights groups say the devices make public safety increasingly difficult to achieve. Kristy Dyroff of the National Organization for Victim Assistance said there is the potential for “unrestricted and unsupervised outreach where inmates can revictimize or continue to intimidate victims.”