Now OK in Prison: MP3 Players
Many inmates to get OK to carry devices, pick songs from pre-approved list
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 27, 2012 8:10 AM CST
Folsom prison blues? The prison agency says songs will be banned if they threaten to "disrupt the good and orderly running of the institution."   (YouTube)

(Newser) – The music industry will soon have another chart to keep track of: jailhouse rock. The Bureau of Prisons plans to allow many of its 200,000+ federal inmates to own MP3 players and pick their own soundtrack to prison life, USA Today reports. The devices will be sold in prison commissaries, and though inmates won't be allowed to access the Internet, they will be allowed to choose from an approved list of around a million songs. Songs with obscene or racially charged lyrics will be banned, officials say, as will songs that "may disrupt the good and orderly running" of prisons.

The MP3 program, currently being tested at a women's prison in West Virginia "is intended to help inmates deal with issues such as idleness, stress, and boredom associated with incarceration," a bureau spokeswoman says, adding that "keeping inmates constructively occupied is essential to the safety" of staff and inmates. The program, she says, won't cost taxpayers anything. Among the detractors: Sen. Chuck Grassley, who warns that it's "difficult to see how all of the necessary safeguards can be put into place to stop prisoners from using MP3 players as bargaining chips or other malicious devices."

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Showing 3 of 12 comments
Feb 28, 2012 11:18 AM CST
I love how many asshats think that working someone on a chain gang is going to stop violence. Look around the world and you see Draconian conditions at prisons yet there are riots and deaths in all prisons so I guess working someone 10 hours a day is not the solution. How's about we stop incarcerating non violent drug offenders and bring down the prison population to a manageable level so guards and inmates can be safe. Would anyone like to try this before screaming about molly coddled inmates?
Feb 27, 2012 2:45 PM CST
I have noticed that the incarcerated are the most despised people on earth. And they are so easy to kick in the balls, now that they are behind bars. I think we should be ashamed. These are people too---yes, they did terrible things. But what we do not want to admit, is that all of us are capable, under the right circumstances, of doing terrible things. YES, EVEN YOU. All this trash talking the prison population, is really just a way to take that potential for ugliness within us, and projecting it outward toward an enemy we can easily defeat. Won't we be proud of ourselves when we take away nutritious food, blankets, music and pets away from those monsters!!!! And so we become the monsters we hate. And it is all quite legal.
Feb 27, 2012 1:35 PM CST
%90 of prisoners deserve to be there, they have victims out in the real world. Instead of rewarding them they should be on a chain gang 10 hours a day, that will keep them occupied.