I work for the Burea of Prisons and believe inmates should have to purchase their own TV's and pay for their cable service. By having to purchase their own TV's the institutions commissary would be making more money by selling said TV's. The institution would then have to reroute cables to each cell which would cost money but by making the inmates pay for their cable service this would pay for itself over time and in the end each institution would start making money off of cable sales monthly. The inmates would not have to pay a cable bill as we pay our's, but instead would pay a dollar or two a month each "If the institution has 1800 inmates this would total $1800 to $3600 a month in revenue for that particular institution". I have personally spoken with inmates about this and had positive feedback from them, they would much rather be able to have the privacy of their cell to watch TV then sit out in a day room with 100+ other inmates.
Inmates should not expect to recieve a free ride while incarcerated, but We could have two TV's that would remain in the common area for indigent inmates who have no money or any money coming in, but the rest can buy their own TV's.
This would also improve Officer safety as far as issues over TV programming in the common areas if inmates had their own TV's in their cells.
This worked very well at the state facility I worked at before.