Reuters reported this week on tech companies that offer specially designed tablets for prison inmates. The devices allow the inmates to communicate with family members, download limited entertainment choices, take job training courses, access a law library, and file prison grievances. Proponents say the tablets reduce violence and improve education and family ties, which can reduce recidivism. But critics worry the tablets are providing a way for tech companies to exploit prisoners, since just about everything on the device costs money.
“These vendors have specialized in making money off of people in prison and their families,” Caroline Hsu, an attorney with the Prisoner’s Rights Project, told Reuters. “They have a literally captive consumer base.” —L.L.