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iPods for the pokey: no jailbreaking here
June 28, 2013 1:32 PM   Subscribe

Ho-hum, it's another music download service and MP3 player - but this one's been created with the needs of correctional facilities in mind and is already in use in a dozen states and some federal prisons.
posted by porn in the woods (20 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Won't someone think of the prison tattoo artist and add some useless spinny thing inside there? Digital culture takes another victim...
posted by Ogre Lawless at 1:40 PM on June 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Does the musicwarden barter with all this mackerel I've been sitting on?
posted by wcfields at 1:50 PM on June 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


This was really interesting, and it sounds like the warden they talked to has the attitude I'd like to see in people running prisons. I wonder what the benefits of the Access system are, from the article it seems like the second option would be a much better choice for everyone. Maybe they were just first and will be forced to either get to parity or leave? How much motivation does a prison have to change systems once they've introduced it - seems like there'd be a lot of sunk costs, and the annoyances of the system wouldn't impact the prison management much, so it would be a pretty low churn even if the other option was much better.
posted by jacalata at 1:56 PM on June 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


This shouldn't be seen as a story about MP3 players. It should be seen as a story about a population large enough to sustain its own MP3 player industry.

2.2 million people behind bars in the USA, right this minute. Roughly one out of every 50 adult males. That is the real story.
posted by Dimpy at 2:01 PM on June 28, 2013 [33 favorites]


Don't download music illegally, or we'll send you to prison and force you to legally download any music you want to hear.
posted by oceanjesse at 2:03 PM on June 28, 2013


It's pretty shitty that they charge so much per song in there. You literally have a monopolistic hold on a captive userbase with limited means, mostly earned through underpaid menial labor. You really have to turn around and mug them through their commissary accounts as well?

I've got to hand it to the US, they've managed to incorporate literal bondage into the debt bondage scenario. Capitalism IS always innovating!
posted by nevercalm at 2:09 PM on June 28, 2013 [10 favorites]


You literally have a monopolistic hold on a captive userbase with limited means, mostly earned through underpaid menial labor. You really have to turn around and mug them through their commissary accounts as well?

Wait till you hear about how phone calls work! Though in that case, it's even better: it's the family of the incarcerated person who gets to pay up to six times the regular long-distance costs.
posted by rtha at 2:16 PM on June 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


The thing runs on an Access database? Isn't that an 8th amendment violation right there?
posted by basicchannel at 2:23 PM on June 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wait till you hear about how phone calls work! Though in that case, it's even better: it's the family of the incarcerated person who gets to pay up to six times the regular long-distance costs.

And every facility uses a different fucking company, and you have to register your phone number and go through a background check to get calls. One company wanted my phone bill and a copy of my utility bill before they would let me sign up. At the time, I didn't have any utilities paid in my name. And another company has waiting periods for how often you can put money in an account. And if your card were to be rejected online, for whatever reason, you can't try to resubmit it for a week. If you don't know that and keep trying, the waiting period keeps increasing. Finally I just went to Western Union.

It costs about $20 to talk to my brother for 15 minutes.
posted by liketitanic at 2:24 PM on June 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


The thing runs on an Access database? Isn't that an 8th amendment violation right there?

Nah, the system is set up by a company called "Access Corrections". I get your confusion though, the way they throw around the word in that article and swap between meanings can be... weird.
posted by emptythought at 2:46 PM on June 28, 2013


It makes me sad that they can seriously say that this is a growth market.
posted by caphector at 3:40 PM on June 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


It makes me sad that they can seriously say that this is a growth market.

It makes me sad that we have the highest incarceration rate in the world. It makes me sad that we're only starting to lower that rate because of the annual cost. It makes me saddest of all is that for many people the answer is "how can we better monetize this in order to lower our cost?"
posted by nevercalm at 3:46 PM on June 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Kinda funny that the only segment of society where 100% of the consumers pay for their music is prisoners. Besides that, this whole deal seems more than just a tad shady to me. Any companies that exist to profit off of its customers' complete lack of freedom of choice is a company that our world would probably be better off without.

I wonder what would happen if a popular artist were to say "all of my music is free to the incarcerated"? I suppose the criminals running these $1.70-a-song, $160 8g shitty player operations would just opt to not carry it.
posted by item at 4:05 PM on June 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


WELCOME TO MUSIC WARDEN

PLEASE SELECT GENRE

metal

AVAIALABLE SELECTIONS FROM METAL GENRE:

Stryper

"Fuck it, I'm busting out."
posted by BitterOldPunk at 4:31 PM on June 28, 2013 [9 favorites]


No wireless. Less space than a Nomad. In the slammer due to drug laws. Lame.
posted by porn in the woods at 4:59 PM on June 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


I like the fact that music is helping the prisoners cope with life on the inside but do we really need to take advantage of them as well? Why not just allow them iPod shuffles and control the database of songs than all them a crackly player?
posted by arcticseal at 6:34 PM on June 28, 2013


Is Journey's Escape allowed?
posted by jonmc at 7:06 PM on June 28, 2013


Yes, but there's a strict ban on Thin Lizzy.
posted by basicchannel at 10:52 AM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wonder if they have something akin to Audible, or if they plan to add that option at some point. It seems like that would be a boon for less literate prisoners.
posted by nuala at 5:02 PM on June 29, 2013


Does the musicwarden barter with all this mackerel I've been sitting on?

Does Tina Turner sing Simply The Best?
posted by Mezentian at 7:51 AM on June 30, 2013


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