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Randolph County Sheriff’s Office introduces educational tablets to county jail

RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. -- The Randolph County Sheriff's Office is taking a risk on inmates who have made bad decisions in the past.

Sheriff Robert Graves has introduced educational tablets to inmates inside of the Randolph County jail.

It took him a year to come up with a concept to help inmates learn while behind bars and he didn't have to go far to look -- a company called Pay Tel Communications also shared Graves' vision.

"We already had a contract with them to provide phone service for our inmates," Graves said.

He said Pay Tel Communications gave the inmates 40 tablets.

All of them strictly used for educations purposes only.

Graves said inmates will be allowed to take courses on GED preparations, anger management, parenting and drug and opioid prevention.

He said the goal is to promote positive stimulation for inmates, in hopes of reducing violence inside the jail which can put officers in harm's way.

"We constantly hear how they have nothing to do," said Julie Alston with the Randolph County Day Reporting Center.

Her agency helps inmates after they are released from jail.

"So basically I determine what services we have that's beneficial to those clients," Alston said.

She said these tablets are the first step inside of the jail to help inmates advance in life once they're released.

"So I think these tablets will provide them with those opportunities," Alston said.

Graves said Pay Tel provided the tablets for free at no cost to the sheriff's office or taxpayers.

Sheriff Graves said the tablets will never have Internet access as the programs are already pre-loaded on the devices.

Also, the inmates must complete a required drug and opioid course before they can begin to use the device at their own pace.