Winnebago County Board Approves Tablets for Inmates

Winnebago County Jail will be first in Illinois

WINNEBAGO COUNTY - Winnebago county jail inmates will receive a perk no other jail in the state offers.

County leaders tonight voted almost unanimously to provide inmates  with tablets that will provide more than just entertainment .

"It's going to be a win-win for everybody," said Bob Redmond, the Winnebago County Corrections Superintendent.

He's happy the county board voted in favor to give jail inmates tablets.

The jail currently has more than 800 inmates.

Redmond says it'll make the jail safer for inmates and workers.

"It's been proven that this reduces assaults to the officers by inmates by about 40%, and inmate on inmate assaults," said Redmond.

The tablets will come equipped with several features, including phone capabilities and pre-loaded GED programming.

"It's all learning that they'll be able to do," said Redmond. "That hopefully they can continue once their out of here and be beneficial once they're back out on the street."

The Winnebago County jail will be the first in Illinois to provide inmates tablets.

It's a one year deal with Global Tel Link, but it can be renewed for each of the next four years.

Global Tel Link says they've had a lot of success with other jails across the country.

"Educational opportunities to the inmates and reducing recidivism is our main goal in what we do here," said Michael Cisar, an account executive for Global Tel Link. "And this will go a long way towards reaching that goal."

He also says they'll be very secure.

"The tablets do not hit any outside internet network whatsoever," said Cisar. "It's intranet, contained within the jail. So the inmates will only be able to access sites approved by jail staff."

Board member Eli Nicolosi says the best part of this deal is that the tablets are not only free, but it'll also generate nearly $1 million dollars a year for Winnebago County.

"So that's going to be a huge boon for the county," said Nicolosi.  "And hopefully it goes back to public safety where we can help put that more into the sheriff's department and really help the crime crisis here in Winnebago County."

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