Cal. State Prisoners Get iPads

By Amber Jackson, Inmate at Corona Institute for Women

That's right.iJpay is out as the prisoner email provider! A brand new deal between CDCR and is in place and signed. This will widely expand the tablet program, allowing the use of inmate tablets and email service for ALL prisoners in every state prison and fire camp in California! Starting in April, each state prisoner will begin receiving their new, free tablet from! Presently, only 6 prisons in the state have tablets! Now all prisons and fire camps will have it.

No doubt the pandemic has again brought, maybe even forced, another much-needed blessing for prisoners! Another diamond has been forged under pressure! In my strong opinion, with technology becoming so cheap and accessible, there is no good reason any state prison in the United States would not use these tablets! Why are so many state prisons still in a prehistoric era of technology? They may as well have dinosaurs roaming the prison yards!! Wake up! It took a pandemic to force so many to do the right thing and either allow or update the tech for prisons.

The new devices are better, allowing simple things we do not yet have, such as pod casts ( I can't wait! ). I have never even heard a single pod cast.

Movie rentals, not my thing but still a plus. Streaming music service for a monthly fee. Free games and the ability to purchase games. The announcement also says we can do video calls on the tablet. This I have to see to believe. We're also told more education programs will be accessible. A library of free books. Can I please have a DICTIONARY APP from Please!

Everything has a downside. Many of us have spent thousands accumulating paid-for music and games. We have been told we must send this content home on a USB stick/flash drive. No ability to transfer the content. So, that is a huge bummer and a financial blow to us!! It should be able to roll over. Unlikely they'll make that a possibility for us.

I'm actually sad because of this. I love my music. It's a part of who I am. I know this change is good. This part of it is simply hard to accept. So, I'm grieving, yes, grieving over my music loss and prepared to accept what comes next. Life requires a give and take to move forward, now more than ever.

The closure of prison visiting put a burden on prisoners and their children who are innocent. This spotlighted the need for California's Prison officials to think and rethink about making overdue changes and putting in place programs that can function and allow prisoners to thrive even when we are on a quarantine/lockdown. CDCR was compelled to find ways for prisoners to continue classes and programs while knowing we will go on and off of lockdown repeatedly due to covid! So, Covid-19 must be part of the plan for the plan to work! Now the education and self-help classes will also become more available to all.

The prison WiFi system allows student/inmates work to be done on the tablets and submitted from inside our cells! Can you imagine this? I've been doing this through the entire pandemic. Now no prisoner has to feel alone. We can send/receive your prison-screened emails wirelessly. Lowering depression!! Lowering suicidal thoughts!! I've been enjoying this also. So, I know the joy and life changing difference this will be for so many of my fellow prisoners! The impact of this change is like day to night.

Prisoners badly needed this. Now many more prisoners can thrive! I imagine many more blessings are comming for prisoners. Specifically, to those of us doing all we can to show we have changed and hope to be seen as a person again.

Thank you CDCR HEADS!! For finally doing the right thing and bringing in honest, ethical, fundamental changes, allowing prisoners the technology to serve our time in a humane manner. Please keep up the good work and let's open a new chapter before I parole in the near future!!

God is so good!!

An inmate at California Institute for Women, Amber Jackson is serving a prison sentence for throwing acid on her sister 12 years ago.


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