In response to reader comment, analysis of Cuomo’s iPrisoner give-away

Colorado 'iPrisoner' program 2017

The following is a comment made on my reposting of a Facebook commentary – Anthony Brindisi character in question in $300 million Utica Hospital scandal. The comment references the proposal by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, to provide convicted inmates electronic tablets (which are referred to as ‘iPrisoners’ in the response).

The response delves into a short analysis of some of the political motivations, and influence, affecting the iPrisoner proposal, NY politics, and potentially the 2020 presidential race. It seemed fitting, both in its length and nature, to provide its own posting. [The main image is of a Colorado prisoner tablet program from 2017]

This is a subject change, but would like an answer to the following question. How much involvement did Anthony Brindisi in getting 150,000 electronic pads for prisoners? Where is his positive or negative pitch on this. Didn’t hear about any veterans or elderly getting any. Thanks for letting me express my thoughts. – Colin, February 2, 2018


While the (what I like to call the iPrisoner) tablets was a calculated tactic organized by Gov. Cuomo, and likely discussed with Sen. Schumer to some degree given his position in the Senate and the connection in NY politics, Assemblyman Brindisi is highly unlikely to have been involved to any degree. While I am aware of conversations between Brindisi and Rep. Nancy Pelosi as well as Schumer, those discussions were limited to the NY-22 race and the confirmation of Brindisi being a faithful subordinate to the Party political machine.

Brindisi is not a significant functionary of the Assembly, nor endeared among the NYC elites of the Party. Even in considering the Utica Hospital fiasco, Brindisi was only effective due to the support of Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente (who had made significant efforts to support Cuomo in prior election cycle), the well liked and connected former politician Ray Mier, and the head of Utica medical services Steve Perra.

Brindisi, being an Assemblyman, held a key position in ensuring the completion of the goals of this cadre as having access to the Assembly to submit Bills, had some clout for his strong support of Sheldon Silver through most of that scandal, and some interest as being considered an option in the NY-22 race in 2014 to counter the future Congresswoman Claudia Tenney. Thus his demand for the location of the Hospital could not be denied, lest his support waiver and cripple or severely delay this project.

All of this is the long way to say that Anthony Brindisi likely knew nothing of the iPrisoner proposal, and learned about it at the same time and via the same means as the general public. His lack of comment, and delay in comment, seems to confirm his apparent low ranking in NY politics. I would imagine that his relatively young and inexperienced campaign staff are still evaluating and working out a supportive response that does not tie Brindisi to this proposal in case of public backlash – much like his half-hearted support of the shutdown and his lack of comment on the arrest of Assemblywoman Harris from Brooklyn.

To address the rest of you question, the elderly and veterans are not a consideration in the iPrisoner proposal. First, the elderly are far less tech savvy, and thus not enticed by an offer of “free” tech items they are unlikely to want or use. In addition the elderly are assumed to either be diehards of their respective political party affiliations (thus requiring only minimal and sporadic targeted media, mostly just before an election to motivate turnout) or are better targeted with fearmongering bait on issues like prescription medication costs and threat of loss of Social Security. Veterans are a bit more tricky.

Veterans fall into a couple of key categories. They are generally more Conservative, more apt to support pro-2nd Amendment policy, and favor stronger law enforcement policy and fewer restrictions on personal liberties. Of these factors, the support of law enforcement places veterans at odds with the iPrisoner proposal. Thus they are equally rejected as targets for a similar offering. From the perspective of the Cuomo campaign, and that of the Brindisi camp, veterans are a low priority. They are not enough of an active political demographic in NYS, as several policies over the last 8 yrs – as well as directly stated scorn from Gov. Cuomo – have led to a high proportion of veterans, Conservatives, and Republicans comprising the 1 million people that left the State.

Those remaining are far more triggered by gun restriction legislation – though this has waned as the on-going effort to repeal the SAFE Act has endured for 5 yrs and activist fatigue has set in. Additionally, economic concerns such as taxes, job growth and retention, and illegal immigration are far more likely to cause a political reaction. This is why veterans are given little attention by Cuomo (as compared to several of the issues mentioned) and are of a more localized concern for Brindisi due to the R+6 demographic breakdown of the NY-22. For Cuomo, outside of Albany, Rochester, and a few of the major cities anchored by SUNY colleges (which ensure a disproportionate Liberal bias in those regions) Upstate New York is of no concern – as the results of the last gubernatorial race proved.

In conclusion, the iPrisoner program plays well with the same generation that feel tablets are essential to daily life. These are voters 25 and under, and of those the SUNY colleges are breeding grounds for dedicated liberal idealism and current fad political trends. This would include the current idolization of Socialists like Mao and Che, the acceptance of radical social justice psuedo-science as fact – like the creation of 32 genders of which 29 do not exist in nature as examples.

The belief that rewarding behavior (whether good or ill) will stimulate good behavior is intrinsic in the mindset promoted at most high school and higher education institutions. Thus the iPrisoner is an attempt to appeal to the youth vote, to bolster voter registration, and have a ready made audience that will believe that it is only a matter of time that their own behavior will be rewarded as they are even more justly entitled to for adherence to the social justice progressive mantra.

I should add that since 2017, limited iPrisoner experiments have been done in Detroit and Colorado – each with significant concerns among the Corrections authorities and victim-advocate organizations. Similar concerns have been identified by State Senator Fred Akshar (see above item from Facebook) and Assemblyman Steve Hawley, stated,

“If it’s this easy to encourage vendors to provide free tablets to inmates, why aren’t they being provided to our students in disadvantaged school districts or to libraries across the state as a community resource?”

I won’t even go into the racial aspect of this, as my response is already far too long. But I hope it gives you a foundational analysis to understand why Anthony Brindisi was not involved in the decision or announcement phases of this iPrisoner proposal, the real status of Brindisi in relation to local and State politics (and thus his relevance if elected at a federal level) and why certain groups were targeted or omitted from iPrisoner.

Please feel free to comment, as I always enjoy hearing the respectful thoughts of others – even if they may desagree.

About the Author

Michael Vass
Born in 1968, a political commentator for over a decade. Has traveled the U.S. and lived in Moscow and Tsblisi, A former stockbroker and 2014 Congressional candidate. Passionate about politics with emphasis on 1st and 2nd Amendments.

2 Comments on "In response to reader comment, analysis of Cuomo’s iPrisoner give-away"

  1. Luis Christian Camacho-Dilorenzi | February 4, 2018 at 5:46 pm |

    Umm isn’t it free and from a not for profit with no public funding?

  2. Luis,

    Nothing is ever free. There is a cost, and that cost must be paid. Yes, JPay is non-profit and received a Government grant, along with a Government contract, to provide the products and services. Where does grant money, from the Government, come from? Taxpayers. An indirect payment, but taxpayer funds all the same.

Thank you for lending your voice. We appreciate hearing what you have to say.

%d bloggers like this: