Inmates can watch television in jail, but how, what, and how much they watch depends on the institution they are in. Inmates in most federal prisons are not permitted to purchase personal televisions for their cells, although they do have access to televisions in day rooms and entertainment areas. Instead, they receive two hours of programming per day, which may include educational programs about topics such as science, history, and geography. Women's prisons tend to limit or ban television altogether.
In Texas state prisons, an inmate may buy a small portable television to use in his or her cell. These come in sizes that fit inside the top drawer of a prison desk, and each one can be priced between $100 and $300. Use of a television in this manner is called "rooming it".
In Florida state prisons, an inmate can purchase a larger portable television up to 30 inches high and 20 pounds. This can also be used in your cell, but it has to be placed on the floor. The fee for using it in this way is called "cellaring it".
There are currently about 730 women incarcerated in Texas state prisons. Of these, about 70 percent are Hispanic, 19 percent African American, 4 percent White, 3 percent Asian, and 1 percent Native American.
The majority of prisoners (about 66 percent) in Florida state prisons are white.
Inmates in the Federal Bureau of Prisons are not authorized to acquire personal televisions; instead, they are permitted to use communal TVs in prisoner housing units and, in certain federal prisons, in recreation departments. Each inmate housing unit typically has one to two TV rooms. These rooms usually contain 50 to 100 television sets that are available to inmates during normal business hours. In addition, some institutions have individual televisions in each cell block or module.
Inmates can be denied admission to correctional facilities because of inability to pay for room and board. Likewise, prisoners may be excluded for financial reasons. For example, an institution may refuse to accept someone who is considered too expensive to maintain.
People also can be excluded for security reasons. For example, an institution may reject an inmate who claims to be a relative when in fact he is not. The inmate would not only deny other prisoners access to the facility's amenities but also might be able to obtain weapons or instruments used to commit crimes while others are watching television. An institution may exclude an inmate if there is concern about possible retaliation from outside sources. For example, an institution may decline to take an alleged victim of crime because of fears that it might jeopardize any future court proceedings.
In conclusion, people can be denied entry into federal prisons for many reasons.
When a prisoner arrives to jail, he or she does not automatically have a television in their cell; they must first demonstrate good behavior in order to acquire the privilege to one. Some institutions prohibit convicts from having their own televisions, whilst others are fairly open to the practice. The decision to allow or deny prisoners access to TV is up to each institution.
That said, many prisons now allow prisoners to have personal televisions if they pay for them themselves or if their families can afford them. Otherwise, they may be granted special permission to watch videos on prison computers or official government broadcasts.
In some cases, institutions will provide prisoners with free televisions as partization incentives. This means that prisoners can earn more frequenting days by performing certain tasks such as working in the prison library or food service department. These jobs sometimes require long hours, so offering prisoners free entertainment during these times might help reduce fights between inmates over limited time on the couch.
Finally, a few institutions may give prisoners free televisions as an alternative to placing them in protective custody. If this is the case, they would still need to meet all other requirements to be placed in the program, but once approved, they would receive a television as well as another inmate to share it with. Protective custody is usually given to dangerous individuals within the population who would otherwise be at risk of being harmed by other prisoners if placed in general population.
Some inmates have access to personal televisions in their cells, but they must earn the privilege to do so.
Many jails offer educational programs from which prisoners can earn credits that allow them to view television in areas with limited visitor access. These programs vary in quality and availability, but many include lessons in math, reading, writing skills, history, science, and other topics. In some facilities, participants may even be allowed outside their cells for certain periods of time. The amount of time needed to complete these programs varies depending on how much time an inmate spends in detention and their rate of progress through the curriculum.
Inmates also have access to about a dozen basic cable channels via a jail-issued set-top box. Additional premium channels can be purchased individually or in package deals from providers such as Showtime, Starz, HULU, and DISH. However, programming on these channels is usually restricted to those shows that are acceptable to prison administrators, such as sports events, movies, and other programming with clear ratings guidelines. Additionally, many jails limit the number of devices an inmate can have in their possession at any given time, so keeping a personal computer in your cell would be unwise.