GlobalTel Link technology finally reached San Quentin after nearly a two-year wait.
Residents in SQ’s Donner section were the first to receive their tablets.
The much-anticipated phone, game, movie and education features appeared to be the focus of attention for many of the first time tablet users.
“I praise God that we are closer to our families with these tablets. Not only is having a tablet an incentive to further our rehabilitation efforts, it is much more humanizing,” said resident Raymond Estrada.
San Quentin residents have watched, some patiently, others impatiently, as a crew of technicians installed equipment over a seven-month period to bring this day to fruition.
CDCR employees and a handful of ViaPath Technology staff made distribution go smoothly as they handed out nearly 250 tablets in South Block’s Donner unit.
Users unfamiliar with tablet tech can find helpful tutorials directly on their devices. To access these tutorials, follow these easy steps:
Log into the tablet using your 8-digit PID, facial scan and 4-digit PIN
Select the “FREE” tab
Tap the “HELP” app, where there are tutorials in English and Spanish that will guide you.
The law library app works the same as your law library search engine.
If you’re still having difficulties, the best way to get to know your tablet is to simply experiment with the different functions.
Unfortunately, ViaPath Technologies has no plans to include a mini-HDMI port for television connectivity at this point.
ViaPath Technologies Project Manager D. Stevens was on hand to assist recipients with questions and was integral to helping residents activate and troubleshoot the technology.
“It feels good to introduce TAB Technology to the population,” said Stevens. “People had limited access to contact their families before these tablets. Now, not only has that been made easier, but individuals can now access music and games at a very reasonable cost. This can relieve a lot of stress on an individual.”
Some residents expressed mixed emotions concerning the tablets and their distribution.
“First and foremost, San Quentin should have been one of the first prisons to receive the tablets,” said SQ resident C.J. Carter. “Aside from that, it’ll be entertaining to have them in that they will provides games, books, movies, and even apps that provide therapeutic calming. But will all that be at the expense of program distractions, disruptions in everyday routines and plain old procrastination? That’s what’s left to be seen.”
Said Stevens, “The only challenge I see is for those individuals who have been incarcerated so long that they are new to this technology. But, it can be a very helpful tool to have in your toolbox, and by taking advantage of it, it will have a powerful effect.”
Correctional Officer Wilson offered a perspective from custody, “I think it’s a cool thing to have technology that will give people easier access to their families, and I’m sure it will lead to a more positive environment.”
ViaPath Technology employee Armando Ruiz stated that the main mission of the tablet is to allow resident’s access to family and education through a user-friendly platform.
“I want to thank the San Quentin community for being so nice and kind to us as we installed the equipment. I have 27 years experience in this field, and it feels good to be of service to this community,” said John Moore, project foreman.
—Vincent Turner contributed to this story