As we have written before, MP3 players and other revenue raising services are increasingly being introduced into prisons. The services not only help address stretched prison budgets, but also act as tools to manage prisoner behavior
The Federal Bureau of prisons is moving in this direction with its recent announcement that it will be proving MP3 players to its detainees. Providing prisoners with a secure prison cell phone service is another means of raising revenue and rewarding good behavior.
The music industry will soon have another chart to keep track of: jailhouse rock. The Bureau of Prisons plans to allow many of its 200,000+ federal inmates to own MP3 players and pick their own soundtrack to prison life, USA Today reports. The devices will be sold in prison commissaries, and though inmates won’t be allowed to access the Internet, they will be allowed to choose from an approved list of around a million songs. Songs with obscene or racially charged lyrics will be banned, officials say, as will songs that “may disrupt the good and orderly running” of prisons.
The MP3 program, currently being tested at a women’s prison in West Virginia “is intended to help inmates deal with issues such as idleness, stress, and boredom associated with incarceration,” a bureau spokeswoman says, adding that “keeping inmates constructively occupied is essential to the safety” of staff and inmates. The program, she says, won’t cost taxpayers anything. Among the detractors: Sen. Chuck Grassley, who warns that it’s “difficult to see how all of the necessary safeguards can be put into place to stop prisoners from using MP3 players as bargaining chips or other malicious devices.”