MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama Department of Corrections is launching a new program to help rehabilitate those behind bars through technology.
The department plans to roll out Personal Education Devices, or PEDs, across the state’s correctional system. Officials say they will introduce it in select ADOC facilities in early February. They anticipate the program will be rolled out to all other ADOC facilities by the end of June.
ADOC says all inmates will have free and secure access to PEDs, which will be used for GED preparation, collage courses, vocational training programs, job searches, personal finance programs, spiritual/religious resources, self-help programs and more.
ADOC describes the PED as a “corrections-grade device that offers digital educational and rehabilitative resources that otherwise would not be available in a prison setting, and will help supplement in-person classes which have been limited due to COVID-19.”
Officials say this initiative is to help promote successful inmate rehabilitation and reentry into civilian society, as well as reducing recidivism upon release.
“Implementing PED technology across our system places rehabilitative, educational, and vocational programming directly into the hands of our inmate population in a manner which previously has been impossible in Alabama,” ADOC Commissioner Jeff Dunn said in a news release. “PEDs help create opportunities for personal growth during incarceration, and the availability of rehabilitative tools, such as PEDs, within a correctional environment has been shown to help reduce instances of violence during incarceration and recidivism upon release.”
ADOC says the PEDs do not provide access to the open internet or social media channels and do not have photo or video capabilities.
“The implementation of PEDs furthers our progress against the Department’s multi-faceted strategy to transform Alabama’s correctional system and make the important shift from warehousing criminals to rehabilitating returning citizens by best preparing inmates to reenter society successfully,” Dunn said. “I am both grateful to and proud of our staff who planned and prepared extensively to ensure the success of this vital initiative, which is being launched at a time defined by unprecedented operational challenges for the ADOC and correctional systems around the county.”