Free tablets for inmates? Indiana officials recommend bid for prison computer tablets

Photo from GTL press release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The Indiana Department of Correction is negotiating with a company to provide tablets with educational and entertainment materials for all inmates.

Inmates wouldn’t be charged for the tablets, but most services could carry a hefty cost for access, the Indianapolis Star reported.

State officials have recommended that the department select a bid from Virginia-based Global Tel Link, which would charge higher prices for services, including movie rentals and music subscriptions. Movie rentals would cost $8 and music subscriptions would cost $25.

“It’s unjustifiable to me how they can have prices that are this high knowing what alternatives are out there for people who are not in prison,” said Kristin Casper, public affairs officer for the Indiana Public Defender Council.

The higher prices would generate profits from the company and help create a secure network accompanying the software.

“This isn’t supposed to be a source of revenue for the department,” William Wilson, an executive director for the department, previously told the newspaper.

According to the bid, Global Tel Link estimates generating $6.5 million each year through the tablets program, while the department could collect $750,000.

Global Tel Link currently provides tablet services in the Allen and Marion county jails.

The department declined discussing the revenues during the negotiations.