Winnebago County Board members approve inmate tablets

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- The Winnebago County Jail will now be providing each of their inmates with tablets, after a unanimous vote at the Winnebago County Board meeting Thursday evening. The Telecommunication Service Provider, Global Tel Link says these tablets will help increase security in our community.

After a long awaited vote, all of the Winnebago County Board members agreed on the Public Safety Committee’s resolution of awarding inmate telecommunication services, except for two no votes from Committee Chairmen Schultz and Wescott.

The board says the increased security and the educational opportunities are the main reason for these tablets. GTL says inmates can use the tablets to get a GED or learn management skills to keep their mind off of crime, and instead on learning to mentally prepare themselves to return to society. Inmates can make phone calls, listen to music, read books, and join support programs on these tablets. The Safety Committee say this could add about $900,000 in projected revenue from the apps and calls purchased on the tablets.

"There are statistics proving that an inmate who has education upon release is going to have a better chance of making it in society than coming back to jail, so reducing recidivism is our main goal and once that happens you'll have a safer society as well," says the Global Tel Link Account Executive, Michael Cisar.

The Winnebago County Jail says it's been proven that the tablets reduce the number of assaults to officers and to other inmates, along with the suicide rate.

Global Tel Link says inmates will not have access to the internet outside of the jail, so they can only access sites approved by jail staff. They also say these new tablets will not cost anything for taxpayers in Winnebago County.