Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes ofwebsite accessibilityOnly on 6: Mother reacts to Albany Co. jail tablet program | WRGB
Close Alert

Only on 6: Mother reacts to Albany Co. jail tablet program

Only on 6: Mother reacts to Albany Co. jail tablet program (WRGB)
Only on 6: Mother reacts to Albany Co. jail tablet program (WRGB)
Facebook Share IconTwitter Share IconEmail Share Icon
Comment bubble

ALBANY, NY (WRGB)--Most us believe that when you pass through jail gates - you leave the outside world behind.

But a new program at Albany County Jail is changing that.

"People are going to be like 'my gosh, you're better off going to jail! You get all of this stuff," said Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple.

MORE: NY inmates texting, gaming, streaming music behind bars

Hundreds of inmates are now being allowed to use tablets that connect to Wi-Fi. For just a few cents a minute, they can download music and games, as send texts and emails to approved contacts.

"We get a commission on all of that," Apple said.

Apple says all activity is recorded and monitored by investigators. He explains that the tablets serve as a distraction, and busy inmates are safer inmates.

"The thing with an inmate is you have 24 hours a day to just sit there and think, think about how to get out of there, think about hurting somebody, think about assaulting an officer, whatever the case may be."

But Patricia Gioia has mixed feelings.

She says she understands that "you've got to give them something to do, but it doesn't have to be an iPad."

Nearly 30 years ago, a parent's worst nightmare became her reality.

"An event happened in our family that no one ever wants to happen in their family," Gioia said.

Her daughter Mary was shot and killed, her body was dumped in a bay.

"Thank God Mary floated and that's the way we found out about it," Gioia said.

Mary's killer was convicted and placed behind bars. But not every one in the Albany County Jail has been found guilty. The Sheriff says only about 15% of the more than 600 inmates are currently serving a sentence. Still, Gioia says she wishes those who have been convicted, would not be afforded the luxury of the Internet.

"To be able to think that the person who did this is getting some extra privileges is not something we want to think, the people that have caused so much harm and distressed families' lives."

Sheriff Apple says zero taxpayer dollars went toward the tablets.

Comment bubble

As for messages and downloads, inmates and their families can put money into an account.

Loading ...