Reporting Derek Shore
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A new program that allows jail inmates to receive emails is drawing some criticism from relatives of crime victims.
The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department says it’s faster and easier for staff to screen the electronic messages, print them up and deliver them to inmates instead of going through individual written letters.
Messages are accepted through the department’s website, but inmates don’t have access to the internet. Responses still have to be sent the old-fashioned way.
“Somebody can correspond to an inmate and that message will get to them virtually the next day,” said Sheriff’s spokesman Jason Ramos.
Derrick Gann, whose son was murdered last year, says the convenient messages are a privilege the inmates don’t deserve while they’re being punished. The suspect accused of killing Gann’s son is in jail awaiting trial next year.
“It’s more accessible for them to talk to someone out here or talk about something that shouldn’t be talked about,” Gann said.
Department officials say the level of contact isn’t really changing and email is screened for threats and gang references.
“Sending an inmate an email virtually eliminates the ability for any contraband from being introduced into the facility,” Ramos said.
Deputies said they received more than 4,000 emails in the first week the service was offered, and they expect that number to rise over time.