Inmates Given Access To Cable Tv In Cells
By early next year, prisoners at the Oregon State Correctional Institution in Salem, Ore., are expected to have access to cable television in their cells. They will watch programs via a flat, seven-inch wide LCD television, similar to personal entertainment screens on airplanes. The tamper-resistant devices will be fastened onto the foots of beds.
Prisoners must buy the $350 TV sets with their own money, but the $10,000 operating costs will be paid for by collective prisoner trust accounts.
The prison, with a population of 1,900 prisoners, currently holds 1,124 personal TVs, and 320 long-term prisoners have had their cells wired for cable this year.
Officials at the facility hope the initiative will eliminate TV-related brawls in common rooms. Superintendent Jim Bartlett recalls a recent incident involving two inmates in which six officers were required to break up the fight. They used pepper spray once or twice to quell the violence, according to Bartlett. “The officers ran in there, not knowing if they were being coaxed in there,” he recounts. It could have been a diversion.”
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Oregonian (10/06/03) P. A1; Rose, Joseph.