It is possible that not all of you noticed a special feature in my “Christmas cards received” entry, which I am occasionally updating.
Fr. Gordon MacRae – falsely accused, unjustly imprisoned – sent me a kind Christmas card.
At his blog, These Stone Walls, Fr MacRae provides some interesting news:
The New Year will be ushering in a major change behind these stone walls. I don’t mean the blog, but rather the place in which it is written. The New Hampshire Department of Corrections is following a trend sweeping prisons across the United States.
After 23 years with severely limited contact with the outside world, a computerized tablet system will become available for sale to prisoners here in the first months of 2018. [Get that?]
This prison has contracted with a company called Global Tel link (GTL.com) to sell tablets to prisoners with a series of paid subscription services to include email, video email, telephone, ebooks, subscriptions, and a list of other paid services such as music and movies. The nine-inch tablet will be similar to an Android-based Samsung with touchscreen for $149.00.
The biggest change for me will be the availability of Internet-based telephone and email services. Presently where I live, there are two telephones available for 96 prisoners. The phones are outside which means that placing a call during a New Hampshire winter to hear your messages and comments requires up to a one-hour wait bundled up against the cold and wind.
When I purchase a tablet, it will have a headset and the ability to place calls right from our toasty 60-square-foot cell with no waiting outside for an available telephone. Friends can still not call me but will be able to leave me messages. This will be the first time in my 23 years here that anyone can reach me directly from the outside world.
In addition to the initial costs for the tablets and services, telephone calls will have a per-minute charge, and emails will be charged per message and by volume of text, but the fees seem reasonable. Readers who are able and want to assist with the expenses may do so here at These Stone Walls or through the means described at our “Contact” and “Donate” pages. I will have further news about this in January.
In the year to come, May the Lord bless you and keep you. May He let his countenance shine upon you. May He bring you peace.
In your charity, please consider helping Fr. MacRae.