The Ventura County Sheriff’s office distributed over 1200 electronic tablets to inmates housed at the Pre-Trial Detention Facility in Ventura and the Todd Road Jail in Santa Paula on June 8, 2021. The tablets provide a wide range of communication tools, media offerings, and free educational and transitional resources to help prepare individuals for re-entry into the community. The tablets are the latest tool Sheriff Ayub is employing to increase educational options, encourage positive behavior, broaden opportunities to connect with friends and family, and reduce recidivism.
“I believe a safe community is achieved by engaging those who commit crime in a constructive way, while also holding them accountable for their acts,” Sheriff Ayub said. “If we do not provide someone with a path for improvement, we cannot expect their behavior or decision making to change. The tablets extend an opportunity for progress to those incarcerated in our jails.”
The tablets, provided free to the jail system by Securus Technologies, are the newest tablet devices in the corrections industry. Individuals in custody can access a range of free applications focused on re-entry, personal enrichment through eBooks, employment opportunity databases, Khan Academy for educational services, religious information, law library, podcasts focused on addiction and mental health support, and more. Additionally, inmates have access to college courses, which will allow them to work toward, or earn, a bachelors or associated degree through Securus Technologies’ Lantern Program and its partnership with Ashland University.
Users also have the option to subscribe to a low-cost monthly account which allows them to place phone calls on the tablet, as well as access media offerings such as movies, games, and music.
The tablets are built with a secure operating system, meaning that users can only connect to a private network that is controlled by the facility. The tablets also come with proprietary software prevents misuse and detects attempted illicit behavior. The technology monitors communications in real time and alerts correctional staff about potential attempts at misuse, which is a standard practice shared by all correctional facilities to improve overall security.
Securus is reimbursed for the tablets through the optional content subscription fees and media purchases. Tablets are available for use by inmates regardless of their ability to buy optional content. The sheriff’s office does not receive commissions directly from any of the fees or purchases. Proceeds are deposited into the inmate welfare fund. By law, those funds can only be used for programs that directly benefit those housed within the Ventura County Jail, such as educational programs and services.