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A new prison tablet cost the author two months' salary.
Illustration by Brian Hindson

I just received my Keefe Group SCORE 7 tablet. It cost me $118.30, but it’s a video player, MP3 player, radio and game device now and holds the promise of more in the future. My Timex watch cost almost $40, and my MP3 player was $88, so the tablet offers more functionality for less money.

I still prefer my watch and my MP3 player because I can run with them; but I’m paid better than most, so I was able to afford the tablet. The price equates to almost two pairs of shoes. It’s about two months’ worth of my current pay.

A person can rent a movie (up to PG-13 only) from the prison bureau’s library that is updated monthly. A movie rental costs just under $5 for 48 hours, which allows us to watch it five times at the most. The games, which we purchase, cost from $1.20 to $3.55. There are also free games that are available.

Until this morning, I had never used anything with a finger-swipe function. I’ve been gone since 2008. I was afraid to hold it in my hands. Two months of my wages.

I looked at the movies and there were plenty I would be interested in renting. We are limited to only one rental at a time. I can see myself getting one, maybe as a treat to myself. I check out the simple games. I can do those. Will the novelty wear off?

Is this the great pacifier? Will guys buy them and zone out on their bunks more?

Someone said e-books will be an option at some point. I’ve never read one, but I can see the benefit of the immediate access.

That price tag: $118.30. Previously, the purchase of any other item that costs more than $99.99 required the warden’s permission. I suppose they’ve changed the policy or added an addendum.

Everyone I’ve asked who has one has nothing negative to say about them. The one I have is apparently a newer version.

I like that. Two months’ salary. We’ll see …

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Global Forum Online has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Brian Hindson is an artist whose favorite styles of work are impressionism and pop art. His work is published on the Justice Arts Coalition. Hindson is incarcerated in Texas.