Charlotte County inmates using tablets behind bars


CHARLOTTE COUNTY – Charlotte County Jail inmates can now communicate with loved ones using a tablet.

“I check it like it’s a big cell phone,” said Nicole Hoffenkamp. “When I first got here, I didn’t realize they had tablets.”

The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office is using tablet-like devices in an effort to provide additional services to those behind bars.

“You can message back and forth within minutes, it’s almost like texting. It’s nice to have,” said Hoffenkamp.

The Sheriff’s Office says the tablets are equipped with self-help and educational classes for inmates.

“So if they are court ordered to go to a parenting class for example, they can do that online and we can print the certificates out and provide it to the courts for them,”  said Captain Melissa Turney.

Inmates will have two free credits a week. Additional credits are offered at 50 cents each. That’s how the 750 tablets supplied by Smart Communications pays for them.

“We do not pay a dime for any of these devices, the company provides them for free,” said Turney.

The tablets are on a secure network and inmates cannot surf the web or play games.

Hoffenkamp says it gives her piece of mind.

“We’re okay here. Nothing’s going to happen to us here, but outside that’s what I worry about stuff I obviously I can’t control.”

Incoming letters will be scanned onto the tablets and inmates can sign on to them.

“There’s really not a huge difference between written mail and this because its just faster, and it’s still jail,” said Hoffenkamp.

Beginning January 1, 2018 all, non-privileged inmate postal mail must be sent to the address below to be scanned:

P.O Box 2027
Pinellas Park, Florida 33780


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