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Maryland to Expand Program to Provide Electronic Tablets to Inmates

Teaching Tool Helps Reduce Recidivism, Aids Security

BALTIMORE (July 16, 2018) – The Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR), Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP), and Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) today announced the expansion of its successful tablet program. An innovation in correctional education, the program equips inmates with electronic tablets that provide access to applications and tools that increase motivation, personalize learning, and accelerate passage of the GED® and TABE® assessments.

The tablet program is jointly funded by the Maryland Department of Labor and GOCCP. GOCCP, who funded the pilot program, will contribute an additional $25,000 grant for the new tablets, with equivalent funding from the Department of Labor. The program in total will cost approximately $50,000.

“The tablet pilot program has improved instruction and increased student motivation,” said Labor Secretary Kelly M. Schulz. “Expanding the program to additional facilities will enhance DLLR’s correctional education program and change the lives of hundreds of inmates who need access to technology to be successful in their future jobs. Implementing this technology in our correctional education program prepares students for their next steps, and reduces the recidivism rate in Maryland.”

By helping students acclimate to technology, the tablets prepare them for release.

“We view this as an important crime prevention strategy,” said GOCCP Executive Director V. Glenn Fueston, Jr. “Not only will the tablets prepare students for the future, it also shows them that we have faith in them outside the walls of the criminal justice system. This state investment is money wisely spent.”

The devices are also expected to help in the state’s fight to reduce the smuggling of the narcotic Suboxone, which is often brought into correctional facilities through paper, fueling prison violence.

In the pilot program, the tablets were used by 77 inmates at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women (MCIW) and the Brockbridge Correctional Facility, and allowed for more individualized instruction.

Over the last year, the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services used 11 electronic tablets to teach inmates in the MCIW and Brockbridge GED programs. With the program’s expansion, the state will purchase 47 additional tablets, to be used in Adult Basic Education classes in as many facilities as possible.

“We understand how critical books are in educating inmates to become productive members of society when they leave our facilities,” said DPSCS Secretary Stephen T. Moyer. “And the tablets will make our prisons safer for staff and those in our custody.”

Inmates welcome the devices as necessary 21st century tools.

“The tablets have gotten me familiar with computer technology that I knew nothing about before the tablets were provided to us,” one inmate student said. “I was able to take the GED test on the computer with no problems to receive my diploma.”

The program is being hailed by both teachers and students for enhancing prison education.

“In the hands of a skilled teacher, the tablet is very powerful,” said Principal Deron Crawford of Brockbridge, a prerelease facility. “Students have the opportunity to do something meaningful.”

The tablets were leased from American Prison Data Systems.

About the Maryland Department of Labor
The Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) is committed to safeguarding and protecting Marylanders. We're proud to support the economic stability of the state by providing businesses, the workforce, and the consuming public with high-quality, customer-focused regulatory, employment, and training services. For updates and information, follow DLLR on Twitter (@MD_DLLR), Facebook and visit our website.

About the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention
The Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention is the state’s coordinating office that advises the governor on criminal justice strategies. The office plans, promotes, and funds efforts with government entities, private organizations, and the community to advance public policy, enhance public safety, reduce crime and juvenile delinquency, and serve victims.

About the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services
The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services protects the public, its employees, and those in its custody. One of the largest departments in Maryland with nearly 11,000 employees and a budget of more than $1 billion, the department has increased security at our institutions while leading the way in innovative restorative justice projects that will help offenders reintegrate into society upon release.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation
Theresa Blaner
410-230-6241

Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention
Walinda West
443-223-1048.

Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services
Gerard Shields
410-339-5834