Oklahoma Department of Corrections continues tablet rollout at Mabel Bassett Correctional Center
Technology is something we all take for granted. But tablets are foreign to thousands of inmates, like Carrie. “I have never seen a tablet,” Carrie said. “I can’t stop messing with it. What’s this? What’s this?”
In June, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections (ODOC) joined forces with Securus Technologies to provide tablets to 21,000 Oklahoma inmates beginning at North Fork Correctional Center in Sayre.
“I’m excited,” inmate Brittany said. “It feels like home.” The tablets give these women an additional method of staying connected with family. “It’s amazing,” inmate Robin said. “To be able to reach out to them is the highlight of somebody’s day. It will bring a smile to somebody’s face.”
The simple technology allows inmates to listen to music, read books and search for a job. There are even educational and self-help opportunities to prepare for life after incarceration. “So, we put this technology in their hands,” Tony Taillac from Securus Technologies said. “When they are released, they are better acclimated to society, which reduces recidivism and that’s the goal.”
The tablets offer inmates with 50,000 options for free entertainment and education. “I really think it’s a great opportunity for Mabel Bassett and ODOC,” Acting Warden Matt McDonald said. “There are some women who have been here 30-40 years and never used a cellphone. We are going to train them. It’s a great opportunity for everybody here.”
Inmates won’t have unrestricted access to the internet. The 7-inch touchscreen tablets can only connect to a secure, and monitored private network. “I’m looking forward to see what it brings us,” one inmate declared. ‘It’s a life changer.”
This technology is not a replacement for in-person visitation but an additional way to stay connected. The tablet rollout will continue for the next several weeks and should be completed by October.