When you go to prison for being in debt and only get further into debt and can never pay off your debt.


There is a term for what you’re describing…


Unlike prisons, which house convicted Texas felons, the majority of people in county jails are being held pre-trial, meaning they have not yet been convicted of the crime they were arrested for. Still, the amount of time people spend in jail can be significant. In Harris County, the average length of stay is nearly 200 days.

As the federal government clamps down on inmate phone call costs, the tablets provide prison technology companies with new sources of revenue from a captive customer.

A captive customer that hasn’t been found guilty of a crime.

Dystopia ain’t gonna dystop, I guess


I would call that cruel and unusual.


It is certainly a violation of their 5th (due process) and 6th (speedy trial) Amendment rights.


so is paying for jail but we’re past that too


Adding microtransactions to incarceration and continuing to prey on the poor. There is nothing corporate greed can’t make worse.


This was a major plot point in Doctorow’s Bezzle that I just finished. It’s depressing to see it happening in real life but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.


Finally we have created the Torment Nexus from popular novel Don’t Create the Torment Nexus.


Those tablets are almost totally worthless. When I worked IT at a state facility, those things malfunctioned almost guaranteed. They were vendor machines so I could not touched them, but the software from what I had seen was so locked down and proprietary that you’d have to have vendor tools to do anything with them or the PXE server.


Must have been the cheap Sophix overstock we could never sell when I worked w electronics


No I don’t think they were those, I want to say they were manufactured by HTC maybe? The company who the facilities were contracting was called Shawntech. Those tablets would very commonly steal inmates money too and nothing was ever done about getting their money back.

I’m about to go off on a bit of an unrelated rant but that last statement kind of triggered me a bit and I still have not recovered from this.

Prison is truly a fucked up place, I never wanted to work there, my life was miserable while I worked there, and I am glad to be rid of the place. I am honestly ashamed to say that I ever worked for a private prison but it was either that or starve on the streets. I never agreed with the prison system but after seeing it first hand how inmates are treated, they are not treated like human beings, they are treated like dogs. I knew a (free world) guy who worked in maintenance that I very quickly became friends with (who was old enough to be my father and honestly reminded me of him a lot) who had the same views I did, but at the end of the day, he has a family to feed, and where I live, you have to unfortunately take what you can get. Like everywhere in life, I was kind at my job to both shitty workers and inmates alike, and tried to be a shining image to what is ultimately mostly people who got caught using substances, but I feel like I can never fully clean my hands of contributing to their suffering by simply just maintaining the prison’s IT and CCTV infrastructure. Yes there are people who do absolutely deserve to be in prison, but they are typically outnumbered by people who broke frivilous and outright ridiculous laws that are in place for the sake of creating slave labor. On top of that, the security staff tend to abuse inmates (albeit in a nondisctiminatory manner meaning anyone can be subject to it). It’s punishment enough to be in prison, why give even further unnecessary suffering?

tsonfeir, avatar

Biden has passed things to lower these costs, implementing a federal cap on video calls for instance. While prisons can still weasel their way around different parts of the system, this is one an example of positive change from the Biden administration.

But for clarity, fuck profit prisons.


I know you mean well, but when wins are this small and infrequent, I’d refrain from giving praise and instead demand more. Really though, has the current administration done anything else to improve the prison system besides this?

Our prison system is such a far cry from functioning well and ethically that capping phone call charges is truly, barely scraping the surface. I understand celebrating small wins, but if we celebrate this one and continue making improvements at this rate, it would take literally thousands of years for our prison system to reach reform. That’s not a win, that’s stagnation disguised as a win.

And this isn’t mentioning how nearly every facet of this dysfunctional, worthless excuse of a society is designed to serve the rich at the expense of the poor, and our government has made it crystal clear that they don’t intend on fixing any of it. I have incredibly good health insurance and I can’t even see a damn allergist, my wife and I are two working professionals who will never afford a home (let alone kids), etc. You can make more money in this country reselling sneakers than you can by getting a degree in education and teaching children. Seriously though, what the fuck?

We won’t see any meaningful social reform in our lives unless things boil over and heads start to roll. Until then, the government will continue making our lives tangibly worse in two dozen different ways for each micro-win, like this prison phone call change.

tsonfeir, avatar

Really though, has the current administration done anything else to improve the prison system besides this?

If you’re asking, you don’t know. While I’m not trying to say Biden is amazing and I’m happy it’s not Bernie Sanders (love you Bernie), I definitely think that the anti-Bidens haven’t done any research.

I’m just trying to mention the positives, since we’re all gonna have to vote for him one last time. 😫

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