Jones County Jail technology helps inmates focus on education and health

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Gray, JA. Over the past month, inmates at Jones County Jail have been able to take self-improvement classes. The sheriff’s office wanted to do something to help improve their prison experience.

Prior to the promotions, inmates could only call their loved ones and carry out the tasks assigned to them in the prison. With the help of Pay Tel Communications, Inc.They have installed the best internet services, video calling and tablets in the facility.

The tablets contain everything from movies, music, books, and 10 categories of classes that guests can take. From GED courses, anger management, parenting, and addiction recovery to mental health, employees have noticed a difference. Vice President Earl Humphreys says there are incentives when inmates complete a semester.

“They can also accumulate credits for other entertainment services, phone services where they can call loved ones at no cost to the guest, and they can also listen to music on tablets,” Humphreys said.

Dara Johnson is in prison for violating her probation, and she’s determined to do what’s best for herself inside the prison.

“This show is so beautiful. We love working on raising kids and getting to know ourselves again,” said Johnson.

Johnson has three children. She told 13WMAZ that she is trying to build a better relationship with them. She suffered from postpartum depression after having her children back. She began taking parenting classes through the Pathways to Achieve program, which allowed her to learn about what she was going through mentally. All categories are on the Pay Tel ‘inteleTABLETS’ they provided. Johnson says she is learning how to talk to her children on the phone and what to say.

“I was afraid to call them until I did, and once I did, it encouraged me to call them and talk to them and let them know everything was going to be okay,” Johnson said.

In the 30-day report, there were 153 active learners and 22,807 courses completed by inmates of the Jones County Jail. 79 learners have completed one or more GED courses. One learner, Matthew Shields, has completed all 167 GED courses.

Humphreys told 13WMAZ that prison staff noticed “less stress” from inmates. Each two prisoners has one tablet. They must perform their other duties in order to use the tablet. The tablets, he says, “cost the county absolutely nothing.”

Johnson says she loves Pathway to Achieve and will continue to work through the seasons to improve it.