Jail Offering Computer Tablets to Inmates

Jail Offering Computer Tablets to Inmates

By Erin Baldassari / Bay City News

Inmate education at the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department just got a little more sophisticated.

Beginning this week, jail inmates will have the opportunity to access computer tablets as part of the institution’s educational programs, representatives said today.

The San Francisco Sheriff’s Department, along with its associated charter school, partnered with New York-based American Prison Data Systems on a pilot program to provide content-secured tablets to inmates, Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi said.

The program is aimed at increasing an inmate’s ability to access education and reduce recidivism, Mirkarimi said.

“It’s all about public safety and crime prevention,” Mirkarimi said. “If we equip people in our custody with a desire to learn — that also requires some motivation to help them learn and to stick with it — then we are seeing fewer and fewer people return to the San Francisco jail system.”

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Kathy Gorwood said the jail purchased 125 tablets for their roughly 1,300 inmates. Some of the tablets will be sent to the women’s facility next week, she said, while the majority will remain at the men’s facility.

Mirkarimi said the tablet program is a natural extension of the jail’s Five Keys Charter High School, an independently accredited charter school on the jail’s premises that has been in operation for 11 years.

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