(WKBN) — The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) will soon complete the transition to a new electronic education vendor, giving inmates increased opportunities to communicate with their loved ones.
ODRC has been transitioning to tablet communication, entertainment and electronic education vendors to give the incarcerated population enhanced opportunities to communicate with family and friends at a reduced cost.
Under a new ViaPath contract, new tablets were distributed last fall at no cost. These tablets include applications such as a wellness app, education opportunities, more book selections, podcasts and internet radio.
An upgraded messaging application is also available for incarcerated people and their loved ones, something ODRC Director Annette Chambers-Smith said is a critical component of effective rehabilitation.
“Being able to maintain relationships with family and friends during incarceration is vital for rehabilitation, and we want to do whatever we can to facilitate that ongoing and important connection,” said Chambers-Smith. “These communications services are offered at some of the lowest rates available in the country, making it easier and more affordable for families to stay connected with their incarcerated loved ones.”
This transition represents the first time in history that a correctional agency has switched communication vendors without the incarcerated population experiencing a loss of meaningful media files, such as messages, music and photos.
The transition from Securus Technologies (formerly JPay) to ViaPath Technologies/GTL will be complete by the end of the month, and the Securus Technologies contract will end in July 2023.
The ViaPath contract was competitively bid by the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, and ODRC receives no monetary fees from any of the services provided.