‘It’s almost dehumanizing:’ South Dakota inmates speak out about tablet suspension

Inmates at one of the state’s other prison facilities say tensions are rising as residents prepare to lose a lifeline to their outside support systems.

The South Dakota Department of Corrections intends to limit the amount of phone calls that state inmates can make per day, as well as how long those calls can be, according to a Tuesday memo from Amber Pirraglia, DOC director of corrections.

The decision comes nearly a month after the DOC suspended phone calls and messaging services on inmate tablets as part of an investigation into what Gov. Kristi Noem has called “nefarious” uses of the functions , and several days after what state department leaders have called “disturbances” on back-to-back nights at the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls.

The ripple effects are now being felt at Mike Durfee State Prison, a medium security facility in Springfield, where inmates like Brian Anderson are transitioning from a paid instant messaging app to a more limited phone call allowance.

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