The Alabama Department of Corrections is launching a new education initiative they say will help advance the department's mission to promote rehabilitation and reduce recidivism upon release.
The department announced personal education devices (PEDs) will begin to be introduced to select facilities in February.
ADOC said these devices offer digital educational and rehabilitative resources that were previously unavailable in the prison setting. The devices will help supplement in-person classes that were limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the department said.
"All ADOC inmates will be provided free and direct access to PEDs from which they can utilize available programming resources customized to their unique needs such as K-12 programs, GED preparation content, post-secondary and college courses, vocational training programs, job search programs, personal finance programs, spiritual/religious resources, self-help and re-entry resources, eBooks, and more," ADOC said on Tuesday.
The PEDs will also allow inmates to send messages or call their loved ones directly. ADOC said these devices are designed to be secure and do not provide access to the open internet or social media channels, as well as not having photo or video capabilities.
“The implementation of PEDs furthers our progress against the Department’s multi-faceted strategy to transform Alabama’s correctional system and make the important shift from warehousing criminals to rehabilitating returning citizens by best preparing inmates to reenter society successfully,” ADOC Commissioner Jeff Dunn said. “I am both grateful to and proud of our staff who planned and prepared extensively to ensure the success of this vital initiative, which is being launched at a time defined by unprecedented operational challenges for the ADOC and correctional systems around the county.”