This Super-Secure Linux-Based Tablet Allows Inmates to Connect to the Outside World

Prisons are catching up with the age of information

Jul 15, 2015 13:21 GMT  ·  By  · 
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Device manufacturers are building tablet computers for almost anyone today including children, families, elderly individuals or teachers/students. So you shouldn’t be shocked to find out that there’s a dedicated tablet for prisoners, too.

Private correction service JPay has just introduced a new Linux-based tablet which will cater to the needs of the two million prisoners it services across 34 American states.

The company has previously released the JP4 tablet, but the newcomer, called the JP5mini, has an important advantage - it is capable of connecting to the wireless networks a lot of prisons are starting to implement.

The JP5mini aims to offer inmates a sense of being connected to the world, but at the same time, its security protocols are pretty high. The idea is for prisoners to be able to make a life for themselves after they have finished serving their sentence, and being connected to the outside world will help with this process.

JP5mini's specs aren't all that spectacular

The JP5mini isn’t an advanced tablet, as it has been designed specifically to be used in harsh environments, such as prisons. The slate has a 4.3-inch display and 32GB of internal storage, which allows inmates to access music, email, video chat and such. The device costs only $70 / €64.

But don’t go thinking inmates can go and access last.fm or YouTube and listen to whatever they want. According to JPay’s CEO, Ryan Shapiro, music is policed and censored for overly violent lyrics.

Designing a device to be specifically deployed in prisons was a real challenge for the company. For example, JPay had to make sure the tablets wouldn’t end up being used as a weapon or a vehicle to smuggle items into prison. Thus, they are made of clear polycarbonate plastic and come with a secure bootloader so no other operating system can be installed on board.

The JP5mini has also been built to be shockproof, waterproof and can sustain a drop from up to 30 ft / 9m.

With Linux being the default operating system on board, all communication activities are being monitored and approved by prison staff.

On a single charge, the tablet can offer 35 hours of music playback and 12 hours of video playback, which is a lot better than many products currently being offered on the market.

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