$11M Worth of Legally-Purchased Music Will Be Confiscated From Florida’s Prisoners
An anonymous reader quotes the Tampa Bay Times: In April last year, the Florida Department of Corrections struck a deal with JPay. The private company, spearheading a push to sell profit-driven multimedia tablets to incarcerated people across the country, would be allowed to bring the technology to every facility in the nation’s third-largest prison system. But there was a catch. Inmates had already been purchasing electronic entertainment for the last seven years — an MP3 player program run by a different company: Access Corrections. For around $100, Access sold various models of MP3 players that inmates could then use to download songs for $1.70 each, and keep them in their dorms…. More than 30,299 players were sold, and 6.7 million songs were downloaded over the life of the Access contract, according to the Department of Corrections. That’s about $11.3 million worth of music. Because of the tablets, inmates will have to return the players, and they can’t transfer the music they already purchased onto their new devices… The Department of Corrections, meanwhile, has collected $1.4 million in commissions on each song downloaded and other related sales since July 2011… JPay already operates banking accounts and facilitates phone calls at the state-run prisons, charging inmates and their loved ones steep fees for the services. With the introduction of tablets, JPay will add a wide swath of new spending incentives for its incarcerated customers, offering purchases of music, emailing and other virtual fare. As a compromise, prison officials offered to download the already-purchased music to a CD, and then mail that CD to someone outside the prison. For a $25 fee.