10 September, 2021

JPay Tweaks Its E-mail App and Stabs Meaningful Communication Right in the Heart

Like the naive victim of any confidence scheme, I dutifully complied when I got the notification, and synced my tablet at the JPay kiosk in my wing to download the latest critical update. I should've held out; being an early adopter is often costly.

Suddenly, the e-mail app I'm forced to use no longer allows line breaks. The button that should say "Enter," on the Android keyboard, instead says "Done" and returns you to the app's main screen. Goodbye, salutations! New lines, paragraphs, and blockquotes are things of the past, too. Could this be a glitch, an unplanned bug that renders our e-mail compositions as ticker-tape communiques? Or do JPay and the various Departments of Corrections with which it colludes have ulterior motives?

Despite the old saying about not attributing to malice what you can blame on incompetence, my bet lies squarely on the former. There's probably more money to be made by forcing prisoners to type messages as unbroken blocks of text. It makes the presentation of even moderately complex thoughts more difficult. Call me a formalist if you want, but how does a writer switch subjects without beginning a new line? A further impediment is that writing in one long line taxes the working memory of this underpowered JP5S tablet I'm using, causing it major slowdowns. Even now, these letters lag behind my thumbs' ability to tap them out – a lag that'll only get worse, the more I type. Shorter messages, in theory, should also result in more messages. At 25¢ per e-mail, more messages mean more money in JPay's coffers. You don't need to be an economist to figure this stuff out.

Communication, when you're imprisoned, is difficult enough. If I had to cite the single worst stressor in my life, it wouldn't be fear of my fellow prisoners, the emotional weight of legal concerns, or sharing a tiny personal space with a careless boob – it'd be the myriad restrictions placed on my ability to stay in touch with everyone I care about.

So now there's this. How much longer will it be (if ever) before the prison profiteers at JPay cut us a little slack? I think this is just the latest in a lengthy procession of signs that I need out of here. I'm too large for prison.

1 comment:

  1. Ughh..it really sucks that the update removed the important things. Hopefully they realize what they've done and fix it.


Byron does not have Internet access. Pariahblog.com posts are sent from his cell by way of a secure service especially for prisoners' use. We do read him your comments, however, and he enjoys hearing your thoughts very much.