Inmates at Allen County Jail get personal tablets

More than 700 inmates have their own tablets at the Allen County Jail. (WANE Photo)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – More than 700 inmates have their own tablets at the Allen County Jail.

The jail got 800 tablets through its phone company.

Some inmates were surprised when they heard they were getting their own.

“Yeah, because this is jail and a lot of times you don’t think you deserve anything,” a female inmate told NewsChannel15.

Sheriff David Gladieux wasn’t on board with idea at first saying he didn’t want to pamper inmates. Then he looked at the research done at other jails that showed having the tablets made things safer by cutting down on fights between inmates and between inmates and guards. Plus, they helped to lower suicide attempts.

He said it’s not a luxury.

“This isn’t some sort of a gift to the inmates. It most definitely is going to generate money as well.”

Gladieux said they’re no cost to the taxpayer and the jail will actually make a profit. The tablets allow inmates to make phone calls, send short messages through emails and purchase games, music and books. None of it is free.

“You have to allow them telephone communication. You have to allow them to have mail. So why not do it so that it’s going to benefit you?”

He said the mail system causes some of the most problems for safety and drug-related issues. They don’t have access to internet, social media or YouTube. It’s all monitored and if something is misused, they’ll lose their privileges.

“At the end of the day, we understand we made a mistake but we’re still human and we still deserve to be part of the world, to feel like we’re part of the world.”

The tablets also provide religious and legal documents that are required to be available to inmates. Gladieux said that will cut down on paper costs, too.

Below is a copy of the list of costs (excluding tax) for inmates provided by the sheriff’s department:

  • 30-day subscriptions: music, $24.99; games, $5.99; and eBooks, $3.99.
  • 14-day subscriptions: music, $14.99; games, $3.74; and eBooks, $2.47.
  • Seven-day subscriptions: Music, $7.99; games, $2.49; and eBooks, $1.49.