Secure computing for inmate legal access and education.

Introduction: BasicNet is a great starter system that allows inmates access to information, without undue risk to the institution or the public. This basic Inmate-Secure Information System is now on GSA Schedule. Its government part number is ISIS-5LAW. It is a pre-configured, turn-key closed network that serves up to five inmates at a time. It can store and display the information in an entire law library, with space to spare for several educational programs as well. Academy has outfitted 70+ correctional instructions with BasicNet and bigger systems over the last 8 years.

Security First: BasicNet has no internet connection. It depends on the outside world only for AC power, so electronic escape is physically prevented. We donít stop at simply closing the system to outside communication; we secure BasicNet against all forms of inmate tampering. Weíve discovered over 200 security problems with conventional Windows servers and applications. We eliminate these problems by modifying our systems, leaving the inmate free to use the system, but not misuse it. For example, we prevent inmates from sharing information between themselves in a clandestine fashion. Depend on our expertise rather than struggling through trial and error alone.

Cost: BasicNet costs less than $15k. Cost per station declines for larger networks. Weíve outfitted prisons with systems ranging from 4 to 110 stations, from one to eight locations fiber-optically linked between rooms or between buildings within the institution.

Process: We put BasicNet together at our office. We load it with all the software you need: legal, administrative, education, testing, or any other. We make sure the system is stable, bug-free and secure. We pack the network up with directions about how to set it up at your location. Our home office will send someone out to do this for you for a reasonable fee. Your technicians, or ours, can unpack it, and use the color-coded directions to connect the wires. Within hours, you can have a working inmate learning and research network. We stand by the phones to help until the network is running 100%.

Simplicity: BasicNet does not allow inmate access to personal computers, only terminals. This eliminates unneeded capabilities, flexibility that only gets inmates in trouble. And it saves money. Thin clients are simply terminals. Their screens look like Windows computers, but the actual computer is the remote Windows Terminal Server. All that resides on the inmates station is a monitor, mouse, keyboard, and a controller box about the size of a paperback book. The controller box has no room for contraband concealment, and no inputs for floppy, CD or other media. Physically, it is just a metal box housing a circuit board. The operating system is embedded on the board, configured with the minimum capability necessary for inmates to read the information. Inmates are prevented from altering information, applications or the operating system. Kiosks and other kinds of secure inmate hardware are available as options.

Thin Server: Academyís CD/DVD Server makes adding and updating information easy. Just pop the drawer, insert the disc, and the server copies it. After a few minutes, the server automatically ejects the disc for secure storage, and makes the information available to be read, not altered by the inmates. Maintenance of the CD/DVD server is so simple, usually librarians and educators maintain it themselves, freeing up the institutionís technical staff for more challenging problems. BasicNet can take information in any form offered by legal or educational content providers.

Printing: Once an inmate finds material he/she is looking for, it can be printed out for an additional fee determined by you. The print vending software prompts the inmate to insert a mag stripe card, and the system prints the inmates pages. The cost, however nominal, deters excessive printing. While some institutions opt for no print capability, after sales reports indicate that inmates spend excessive time copying information from the screen, so vended printing has been the most satisfactory solution. BasicNet does not permit the creation and saving of inmate documents on the network.

Power Protection: All electronics are protected by power conditioners, which donít just eliminate spikes and noise, but also compensate for under and over-voltage conditions. Servers have battery backup systems. BasicNet includes power protection even on the lowest-priced systems to enhance longevity and uptime.

While some institutions need no more than BasicNet, many decide on larger, more sophisticated systems. We welcome dialogue from the earliest stages of consideration. Treat us as an information resource, so we can help identify sources of information, references, help you explore alternatives, and give input into the feasibility of your ideas. Final system specifications are rarely identical, naturally, since each institution is unique.