The Department of Corrections is experimenting with a new way for family and friends to communicate with inmates at two Minnesota prisons.
The department is piloting a Web-based messaging system through CorrLinks that allows people to contact inmates at Oak Park Heights and the Shakopee women's prison. Messages would be printed and delivered to inmates by mailroom staff. Inmates would still respond by writing a letter or calling.
Each message costs 30 cents, less than the price of a letter, Deputy Commissioner David Crist said. The system could also improve prison safety.
"There's a couple of advantages to the program. One is convenience for the citizens on the streets that want to maintain contact with offenders," Crist said. "But another advantage is it prevents contraband from being introduced into the facilities."
Crist said the one-way messaging system already being used in federal prisons. The corrections department will decide in six months whether to expand the program to the rest of Minnesota's prisons.