Will You Have Access to Outside Information in Prison?

Will You Have Access to Outside Information in Prison?

Yes, for the most part. There are some limits on how you can access outside information in prison. But you will be able to receive news and other information while you are incarcerated.

How will you have access to outside information in prison?

You will have several ways in which you can get information while you are in prison.

  • Libraries. Most prisons have libraries. You will be able to check out books, and some of them may have magazines and newspapers.
  • Television. You can watch the news and other programming on TV while you are incarcerated.
  • Mail. You are allowed to receive mail. That means your loved ones can send you letters, photographs and even books. You can also receive subscriptions such as newspapers and magazines in the mail.
  • Radio. You can also listen to the radio in prison to hear news and current events.
  • Other people. You can also catch up on outside information when you communicate with friends and family. This could be over an in-person visit. It could also be through email, phone calls or letters. Just remember that prisons do monitor phone calls and other communications.

You should know that in most cases, access to these services is a privilege. Officials can take this access away from you for a variety of reasons.

Will you have internet access in prison?

It depends. And when you do, it is usually very limited. Prisons also monitor this usage.

People in federal prison have limited access to information on the internet. The BOP uses a system called TRULINCS. Some states also use it. This system gives people access to text-only email.

Recently, the company JPay has started offering internet-based services to people in prison. This system gives people a few more options. JPay offers video conferencing, messaging, and e-mail services.

You should know that using these services costs money. For example, you will pay $0.05 per minute to use TRULINCS. This includes the time you are reading emails as well as writing them. Sending photos or videos through JPay also costs money. A friend or a loved one might be willing to help you pay for these costs.

More people are getting access to the internet and other information in prison with services like JPay.
Image courtesy of Roman Pohorecki via Pexels.

Can prisons take away your access to information?

Yes. Most of the access you will have to information is considered a privilege. Prisons can and do take this access away for two main reasons.

  • Discipline. Taking privileges away is a common punishment for breaking rules in prison. Your ability to watch TV or use email might be taken away as a way to discipline you.
  • Lockdown. Sometimes events inside or outside the prison cause officials to put the facility on lockdown. Often when this happens, you won’t have access to libraries or the internet. You may not have access to TV either.

There may be other reasons why a prison might take away your information access privileges. But these are the most common.

The Takeaway:

For the most part, you will have access to outside information in prison. You can access information through books, tv, radio and by talking to other people. In addition, you might have limited access to the internet. But these are privileges. Officials can take your access away from you.

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