JESSUP, Md. (WJZ) — Technology is something we all take for granted. Everything is at your fingertips and only a click away.
But for 1,800 inmates across Maryland who are studying to earn their GED or high school diploma, technology is changing their lives for the better.
WJZ’s Mike Schuh spent some time inside a Jessup prison where technology is making it easier for inmates to rehabilitate.
It’s a place where you have to earn the right to be outside — a place where once inside, every few feet there are people watching where you’re going.
But, the men in one room of this Maryland prison are looking for a way to change their lives.
Ronald Sanders, who used guns and dealt drugs in Baltimore, is now getting a second chance with the help of a tablet.
“It has really help me,” Sanders said.
He’s been in prison for so long that at first, he didn’t know how to use the tablet.
“I’m still learning as I go along,” Sanders said.
“They’re not familiar with the technology,” said Deron Crawford, principal of the school. “The results have been very very positive.”
Common tablets are being used in an uncommon way — helping inmates get their GEDs.
The inmates say it’s easier to learn on the tablet.
“I really don’t know why, I just seem to get this better,” said inmate Melvin Earl.
The state doesn’t have the statistics yet to back Earl’s perspective but says students are passing at a higher rate.
The Corrections Secretary said it’s preventing drugs from being smuggled into prison via books.
“We’ve had a lot of cases where Suboxone strips have been smuggled in a book, where with a tablet, we download a book and they read a book,” the corrections secretary said.
Sanders is supposed to get out of prison soon, so the introduction of tablets is right on time.
“I know I need to stop playing around and go ahead and get it,” he said.
Based on the initial success, the state is looking to expand the number of tablets in use across the state.