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Prisoners may get flat-screen tvs
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Commissioners on the Jail Oversight Committee met Tuesday and discussed the possibility of replacing the TVs in the prisoners’ area with larger, flat-screen TVs.
TVs were recently placed in the men’s and women’s pods and are used as an incentive for good behavior from the jail inmates.
“Those TVs that we got donated didn’t cost us anything. It only cost us for the service that we signed up with Ben Lomand,” said County Executive John Pelham. “I was always under the impression, if you all have been back there and saw the TVs just sitting out on the tables in the exercise room, that the guys were just out in the exercise room, sitting on the picnic tables and gathered around the TV and watching it. But, that’s not the case. When they are watching TV, they are watching TV from their cells. They are locked in their cells maybe 50 feet or 60 feet away, standing in their cells trying to see that TV.”
“From as far away as they are watching TV, if we really want to say, OK you guys, if you are really going to try and behave better, we can go to Walmart and get a pretty good size flat screen that we can mount on the wall and they can see from their cells a whole lot better if you all think we are getting to that point where these guys are really going to take care of these things. We can go to Walmart and catch them on sale. You can buy a pretty good sized flat screen for around $300. But, we may not be to that point yet,” said Pelham.
Sheriff Jackie Matheny said, “We’ve thought about it and talked about it. That may be coming but, if I did something like that it would be toward the end of the year to see how we are doing financially. In most of our pods, it made a difference. But one men’s pod has been acting up and doesn’t have their TV right now.”
Matheny later said, “Having the TVs has been helpful. It is a good deterrent and so far they have been beneficial. I just don’t know about the budget.”
Committee members decided to wait and see if the 2013-14 budget will allow financing new TV sets for the inmates.
Replacing the TV sets would cost approximately $2,400 according to Pelham’s guestimate of being able to purchase sets for $300 each. There are currently eight TVs placed in the jail for inmates to watch, four in the men’s pods, three in the women’s pods, and one in an in-house trustee cell.