Edgecombe to provide tablets to inmates


Lt. Deborah Stokes, right, shows Edgecombe County Sheriff Clee Atkinson the new tablets for the prisoners to use on Thursday at the Edgecombe County Sheriff's Office in Tarboro.


Staff Writer

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office is stressing the importance of making sure inmates receive tools to help them become better and more productive citizens in society when they’re released.

In an effort to make this happen, the Edgecombe County Detention Center has recently introduced an educational tablet program for inmates with the assistance of Pay Tel Communications Inc. that will take effect Sept. 18.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, through the use of Pay Tel’s inteleTABLET, inmates will be provided with an educational platform and by taking courses, they may earn access to entertainment on the system. The 188 tablets are specifically designed for use in jails and strictly control inmate tablet activity, which eliminates any security concerns. 

Deputies added inmates may also use the tablet’s phone application to make calls to family and friends. A secure messaging option will be introduced in the near future.

Edgecombe County Sheriff Clee Atkinson said this innovative, secure program was provided as part of the Pay Tel inmate telephone contract at no cost to the county, its residents and inmates.

He added the educational program was specifically designed to decrease facility violence, manage behavior, increase educational attainment and ultimately reduce recidivism, all of which will benefit Edgecombe County residents.

“Even though we have some young people back here that have made mistakes, our job is to help them anywhere we can — and this is a big educational piece,” Atkinson said. “This is a tool that can get rid of some of that idle time and reduce violence and things like that in the jail.”

Capt. Oliver Washington, jail administrator for the Edgecombe County Detention Center, said some of the most popular courses on the tablets include GED preparation, auto mechanics and religious studies.

The inmates also have access to courses that include parenting while incarcerated and thinking for the future. The inmates will have access to the tablets three days out of the week during the day time.

“They will be able to get a certificate after finishing these programs,” Washington said. “This shows that they have received this training, and so once they’re released they can use these certificates to show their future employer and use them as a resume.”

Lt. Deborah Stokes of the Edgecombe County Detention Center said the tablets will also allow inmates to prepare to get a driver’s license. 

“The inmates are very enthusiastic about the program we’re about to implement, so we’re very grateful to the sheriff for having the vision to provide the inmates with this type of technology that will assist them in becoming better people in society,” she said.