RSW inmates could soon have access to tablet computers

Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail Superintendent Russell Gilkison is working with a vendor for inmates to be soon assigned computer tablets while in the jail.

Paytel Inc., the jail’s provider for inmate phone service, would cover the cost of the program.

“The computers are on a closed network with secure servers, so there is no internet access,” Gilkison said.

What it will do is give inmates access to educational and rehabilitative substance abuse programs. They will have access to a digital library of more than 300 books, he said.

Inmates will be able to make calls as well as send and receive text messages on the tablets, allowing them to remain in contact with people. Phone calls will be recorded, as is normal procedure, and text messages archived.

Tablets have been a growing trend in correctional facilities for the last two years, Gilkison said, adding he has seen them used at other facilities.

New York and Colorado recently adopted tablets in their state prisons, according to various media reports.

Crews are laying cable for the secure Wi-Fi network, and the program is expected to be rolled out sometime in May.

Rappahannock County Administrator Garrey Curry said he supports the superintendent.

“It is good for inmates to have educational programs,” Curry said.