Inmates allowed texting privileges at Burleign-Morton County Jail

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Sending a simple text to family or friends is something many of us don’t think twice about. But when you’re in jail, you lose that privilege – until now. Shelby Rose shows us how the Burleigh-Morton County Jail is increasing its inmates’ connectivity.  

These iPods only have one functionality. They allow inmates at the Burleigh-Morton jail to talk with people on the outside. 

“Jails are catching up with the rest of society. It’s the common way for people to communicate,” said Burleigh County Sergeant Casey Kapp.

To get this privelege, inmates have to be either in minumum or medium security. For 9 cents a messge, either sent or recieved, they can text with anyone during the day. 

Sergeant Kapp said, “Somebody on the outside has to fund the device, and once there is funding there, they’re allowed to send text messages back and forth.”

to keep them it tough with their friends and family.

“The phones get overloaded here and you have to redial over and over again. So, it makes it more convenient to just send a short text. It’s a little bit cheaper I think,” said inmate Steven Jessup.

But in order to get your hands on an iPod, you have to have good behavior. And correctional officers are diligent with going through and checking what is said in those conversations.

“It’s a great behavioral modification tool to where you have to behave or else it’s one of the things we can take away,” said Sergeant Kapp. 

It also benefits the inmates when it comes to their mental stability. 

Inmate Denise Painte said, “It helps make me feel not so alone like I can do it in here and I have their support.”

“If I lost this, it would definitely make me do a little bit harder time. Sit there and think about time going by and just get lost in myself. And it does help me kind of relieve that stress,” said Jessup.

There are 150 devices at the jail with around 86 currently in use. 

Sergeant Kapp says Tuesday and Thursday visitations at the jail are getting quite packed. So, they’re working on the possibility of allowing those devices to video chat as well. 

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