Watch CBS News

Allegheny County Jail Inmates Get New Flat Screen TVs

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- They're top of the line flat screen TVs and right now, inmates at the Allegheny County Jail are likely watching them.

The County Jail Oversight Board recently approved the purchase of 40 Sony Bravia televisions for viewing in the jail common areas.

If a judge sentenced you to the Allegheny County Jail, you'd be provided three hot meals and a bed to sleep in, but in common areas, you'd also be able to watch cable shows on 42-inch Sony flat screens.

The County Jail Oversight Board recently approved the purchase of 40 sets for $16,000 or $395 a piece.

"If our families in Allegheny County can't afford 42-inch Sony Bravia TVs, the prisoners certainly shouldn't be able to be watching them in jail," he said.

The money comes from the "Inmate Welfare Fund" – proceeds from the jail commissary used by the inmates.

Onorato administration officials who wouldn't be interviewed on camera or allow the televisions to be photographed, argued in a statement that it's not the public's money.

"No taxpayer dollars or county funds are being used to purchase the televisions. The inmates are purchasing the televisions to replace old or broken sets. The decision to purchase the TVs was made by a committee that consists of jail personnel and inmate advocates."

"The point of being in jail is not to mistreat people or make them feel worse and resentful," Marion Damick, a committee member, said.

She told KDKA-TV the inmates are not being rewarded for bad behavior.

While the debate may rage on, the TVs have already been purchased. They're arriving and being hooked up just in time for Steeler season.

More Local News
Allegheny County Jail

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.