$800,000 in licensing fees approved to show movies in prison

Created: 08/20/2014 11:33 PM WHEC.com

Hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing fees has been approved by the state comptroller to show movies in prison.

It’s a program that’s paid for by your tax dollars, and some argue that there are better ways to spend $800,000 than having the ability to let inmates rent movies. But others say they don’t see the big deal, it’s just a movie.

“The knee jerk reaction is to jump on that and say why are we doing this?” said Dr. Santo Bentivegna.

And Tim Ventura is one of those people who feel that way.

“Honestly, they should spend that money on inmate education. That way when they get out they have something to look forward to ,” said Ventura

According to the Department of Corrections, this contract is for 2014 – 2019, and only covers the license needed for inmates to rent movies. A spokesperson released the following statement:

“For more than two decades, eligible inmates have had the ability to rent movies under a program designed to reduce idleness and decrease opportunities for unrest. While DOCCS pays for the licensing fees, at a cost of $4.10 per inmate per year, inmates are solely responsible for movie rental fees.

Some people say they are okay with this program.

“I would say I’m for the program, and I don’t know what they do inside there at all, but it gives them something to do and some sort of positive interaction,” said Michelle Sliska.

Dr. Bentivegna says programs like this, and other incentive programs, help improve the safety of the inmates and the guards.

“There was a very interesting warden by the name of Denis Luther who, back in the 90’s at FCI McKean Medium Correctional Facility in PA, created a program. By having movies as part of a series of incentives found that even violent prisons would reduce their violence for the incentives,” said Dr. Bentivegna.

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