The Gadsden Times on a plan to provide inmates with tablets:

Ideas can look good on a drawing board or when presented theoretically, with the associated emotions and back stories removed.

A case can be made that the Etowah County Commission’s announcement last week that jail inmates will be issued tablet devices as part of a new inmate communications service contract fits that description.

Unfortunately, theory often goes over people’s heads, and in the real world it’s impossible to divorce emotions and concerns and anger over what’s happened in the past from a situation.

That’s why social media has seen practically a radiation-ridden mushroom cloud of anger and indignation over this move.

Commissioners approved a three-year agreement with Securus Technologies of Texas. It will provide tablets that will allow inmates to make telephone calls, buy books, enroll in educational or vocational training courses, review legal resources that could be applicable to their individual cases, receive jail-wide messages from the staff and, yes, watch movies if they have the funds available in their commissary accounts to cover the cost. (It won’t be free.)

This isn’t new ground for the jail. The county’s current inmate communications service provider also issues tablets with similar offerings, but there aren’t enough to go around so inmates must share them. The difference with Securus is there will be enough for each inmate to have a tablet.

Jail officials say it’s important to keep inmates occupied, because idle time is a recipe for mischief or worse. That’s defensible reasoning.

They say this privilege can be revoked if that mischief or worse actually happens. We certainly hope so.

The Times-News (Valley) on a food drive in which Auburn and Alabama competed:

Saturday’s thrilling Iron Bowl win wasn’t the only win for Auburn University over the weekend as War Eagle fans also out-donated Crimson Tide fans in the Bradshaw-Chambers County Library Tackle Hunger Food Drive.

In reality, though, everybody wins in these situations.

The library started its food drive in September, and collected a total of 1,299 non-perishable food items to be donated to the Christian Service Center and the Interfaith Food Closet.

The final score was Auburn 746, Alabama 553.

The drive is a fun way to get people in the mood to donate food but the real reason behind the need for the food drive shouldn’t be forgotten. The holidays can be especially tough for those in need and being able to get food from the services involved can make or break somebody’s holiday.

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