The US's overcrowded prison system is in a sad state, and it’s not made any better by only having access to this incredibly basic 4.3-inch JP5mini tablet.
Available to inmates for $70/£45, the Jp5mini is actually an upgraded (“upgraded” being a relative term) version of JPay’s JP4 tablet that introduces wireless connectivity in prisons where that luxury has been installed by the company.
It’s built like a tank with a clear polycarbonate plastic housing so that it can’t be used to smuggle contraband. The JP5mini is shockproof, waterproof, and has been drop-tested from heights of 30 feet. Even if thrown against a wall, the JP5mini will keep on running.
On the outside it sounds impressive, but on the inside? Not so much. Powered by a dual-core processor and a whopping 32 megabytes of built-in storage, the JP5mini runs Linux with a secure boot loader to prevent other unauthorised operating systems from being installed. So why no Android? While inmates can use the JP5mini to send messages and emails, once synced at a special kiosk all communications—incoming and out—are monitored and individually approved by prison staff.
On a full charge the tablet can play music for up to 35 hours, or provide 12 hours of video playback which is actually kind of impressive. And come August, JPay plans to introduce its own app store allowing inmates to buy games and other distractions to help pass the time. Imagine what your Candy Crush high score might be if you were serving a life sentence.