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Bill would give Nevada inmates access to iPads, other tech

CARSON CITY — Nevada inmates could be granted the use of tech devices while behind bars, with the goal of preparing them for life after incarceration.

Assembly Bill 420 encourages more access to Nevada prison inmates for items such laptops and iPads — but not for online browsing.

The devices would be only for internal use, said Nevada Department of Corrections Director James Dzurenda. The bill was heard on Thursday by the Assembly Corrections, Parole and Probation Committee.

“They will not be given tablets, iPads or cellphones that communicate to the outside,” Dzurenda said.

For those in prison, the devices would be able for inmates to do programs and homework, or write an email to corrections counselors or request medical treatment.

The rules would change for offenders who are in transitional housing and allowed to interact with the community. In that case, they would be allowed to go online to search and apply for jobs.

Money for the technology would come from an inmate’s account, so there’s no costs for the department.

Dzurenda noted that it is almost impossible to apply for a job without access to the internet.

Representatives of the Clark and Washoe County public defender offices supported the legislation.

No one opposed the bill. The committee did not take action on the bill.

Contact Ben Botkin at bbotkin@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-0661. Follow @BenBotkin1 on Twitter.

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