Christmas came early at the Sanilac County jail this year.

A few days shy of the holiday, nearly every inmate was given a tablet computer as part of a pilot program to encourage good behavior and increase inmates’ access to library materials and job opportunities.

The pilot program is the first of its kind in the state, a beta test through Securus Technologies Inc., the company providing the county inmate phone services.

But Sanilac County isn’t the only location exploring new technology. In February, the St. Clair County jail also plans to make tablet computers available to inmates, and several other Michigan jails are contemplating the addition.

“This is a pilot program, but I see it as staying, as expanding,” Sanilac County Sheriff Garry Biniecki said.

“By giving them a tool such as this, they can utilize their time for constructive reasons.”

Allegan County Sheriff Blaine Koops, president of the Michigan Sheriff Association, said the additions in Sanilac and St. Clair counties reflect a statewide interest in the technology. In fact, Koops plans to make tablets available to Allegan County inmates in 2016.

“More than 50 percent of the counties are either in the stage of exploring, or actually have issued a (request for proposals) to make it happen,” Koops said.

About Telmate:
Telmate is the fastest growing provider of inmate phones and video visitation, secure messaging, mobile applications, inmate tablets and investigator tools. Telmate’s cutting-edge platforms are deployed in over 300 correctional facilities in North America spanning nearly all U.S. states and Canadian provinces. Telmate is headquartered in San Francisco, California. To find out more about Telmate, visit http://www.telmate.com.

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