Can Inmates Use Computers in Prison

Can Inmates Use Computers in Prison

Prison is like a time capsule where inmates are kept in a pre-technology time where everything is just slow without much tech. This makes life more difficult for inmates while incarcerated. Processes take too long, and for new inmates, life is a drag without their hands-on gadgets and the internet as they were used to while on the outside.

Of course, prison personnel and workers have access to the internet and other internet-enabled gadgets, but they are heavily guarded and prevented from the inmates’ reach.

It is next to impossible to exist in the modern world without any internet. Nearly all services have moved online, and the disparity an inmate experiences between inside prison and outsides huge. This has led to several initiatives to connect prison facilities with a couple of tech initiatives to improve them.

A couple of facilities now allow inmates to video conference with friends and loved ones, which has come in handy, especially with the Covid19 pandemic.

In this article, we will check out the possibility of inmates accessing computers while in prison.

Do Prisoners Have Internet Access?

The internet in the hands of inmates can be quite a huge security risk. It may be used in illegal activities, including threatening witnesses, taunting people, and scamming them. However, there are classes where inmates can access computers. Most of the courses are educational programs where inmates are taught about computers from how they work to creating new software.

Apart from getting computer lessons, certain facilities also have computers inside their libraries where inmates can do educational research. Most facilities tend to have a computer in the library, helping inmates research their cases while incarcerated. There have been cases of inmates exonerating themselves after educating themselves while in jail.

There are a limited number of computers within most facilities, meaning it is quite hard to access them for research.

Apart from the library, inmates can work with computers if they are accommodated into any administrative roles within the institution. It is not easy to get such roles, and it will need good behavior to get such a role within the prison.

It is quite difficult to find any computers hooked up to the internet within any prison facilities just as a precaution for inmates getting online and attempting certain vices.

PC in Jail

Outside a prison, a PC means a personal computer, while inside the jail; it means a whole different thing. Jails offer protective custody to inmates who are in any danger from other inmates. These types of people are held at different location of the jail. This is what is what is referred to as PC in Jail is.

Are Computers Available For Inmates Within Their Cells?

These days, security facilities have computer kiosks available, which are placed within the inmate’s housing units or the common area. Inmates can make their orders through these kiosks for their weekly canteen products, phone credit, and stamps. There are even kiosks where inmates can make video calls to their loved ones.

Nowadays, some companies increase computer access for inmates through certain initiatives such as the JPay tablet program. They provide inmates with tablets for free, and through other JPay services, inmates can access a myriad of information from educational to entertaining material. Other companies also sell the tablets to inmates through the canteen.

Inmates can access anything from music, audiobooks, movies, and research materials. This they do at a fee, where they pay for most of what they download with the tablets.

The tablets do not come with any internet access, and inmates will have to connect them with the facility’s kiosks to access any information and other material. The good thing about having a tablet is that for once, inmates can stay with their devices in their cells and move around with them, which is becoming one of the best ways to equip inmates with all-around tech on their hands.

Apart from easing the lack of technology, certain companies like Edovo are creating tablets for educational purposes. The facility pays or the educational material, and the inmates access it for free.

According to a prison official, most of the inmates interested in the educational type of tablets were those interested in some form of rehabilitation. Although most of the inmates come into the program with a bit of doubt, after a while, you find the same inmates reading away quietly, with evidence of reduced violence from these inmates.

Inmates can indeed access computers while incarcerated; however, this does not happen similarly to people outside of prison. Inmates will have a hard time getting to a computer, plus tablets that come in through companies like JPay charge inmates for nearly everything they access, making it quite an expensive venture to own one.

Also, the internet is not allowed, making it a limited affair to access a computer. This is because cannot access the internet as it may land you in a bit of trouble with prison authorities. Plus, you will have to explain to them how you got access to the internet.


Another way inmates can get their hands on computers is through telemedicine. One of the improvements most facilities have incorporated within the jails includes telemedicine. This is where an inmate gets a virtual visit from a doctor.

This is not only safer for the doctor who doesn’t have to visit the facility but is also cheaper and more efficient. Inmates can get a quick visit and a prescription from prison and let it be up to the prison to fill the prescription.

Can Inmates Use Computers in Prison – Contraband

Although inmates cannot legally access the internet given their limited access to a computer within the facility, there are other ways of getting to a computer or the internet. One of the main ways inmates can do this is by bringing contraband into the facility. This may seem hard as inmates are thoroughly checked and inspected as they enter the facility, but there are many ways of killing a rat.

Inmates can get contraband bought in through the guards, who can easily smuggle it in for them. If you log on to YouTube and other platforms, you will find videos of inmates inside prison facilities online, proof of the number of contraband in jail facilities.

Reports indicate that inmates receive up to 4000 contraband phones and other internet gadgets annually in one facility.

Is there Wi-Fi in prison? The answer is no. Neither is there internet connectivity available for inmates.

It is also not easy to access computers while in prison; however, an inmate can still access one. Depending on the facility and the number of computers in place, plus the inmate’s history, there is a chance they can get their hands on a computer. Inmates interested in pursuing their case and researching them can get access to a computer through the library.