Oh happy day! With only two Monday Night Football games remaining before the NFL playoffs, the Clayton County Board of Commissioners reluctantly approved county prison warden, Frank Smith's request for DirecTV, so prisoners can view certain sporting events. The BOC also decided to defer enforcement of a new, stricter county vehicle policy -- previously approved in their Nov. 20 meeting -- until February 1, to make sure its policies are in line with the recommendations of the board. While the prison's contract with DirecTV to broadcast satellite television throughout the complex will only cost $75 a month, the decision was narrowly approved by a 3-2 vote. Commissioners Wole Ralph and Sonna Singleton voted against it. "It's prison ... that's what its supposed to be," said Ralph, believing that DirecTV would coddle the inmates. Commissioner Virginia Gray expressed skepticism over the effectiveness of using DirecTV as a management tool for controlling prisoners, but eventually cast the deciding vote to approve the contract. The commissioners were not easily swayed. Tom Salter, a board member representing the 13th Congressional District of the Georgia Board of Corrections -- which oversees all of the state's prisons -- gave an impassioned plea on Smith's behalf, urging the county to approve the contract. Salter said that funds for DirecTV would come out of the budget generated by the prison commissary and the phones used by prisoners, and that prisoners in Clayton County -- who are generally minimum risk -- provide $1.8 million in services to the county per year. He said it was worth it to the county to give Smith a tool to manage their behavior. Smith defended his request. "It is not an anomaly" for a prison to have satellite television, he said, noting that 81 percent of the prisons in the state have satellite or cable television. "It makes sense when you have 90 percent of your people watching something positive, and not getting into trouble." Smith said he understood the feelings of citizens who believe satellite television is a luxury prisoners shouldn't have, but he said that view was narrow and "impractical." The commissioners also voted to defer the county's new vehicle policy to give themselves more time to decide how the new policies should be implemented. Until Nov. 20, the county did not have an official, written policy regarding the use of county cars, only an ordinance stating that "cars were for business use," according to county risk manager, Katherine Dodson. "It was vague and very loose," said Dodson. "Predominately, vehicle use was determined by the department heads involved." Under the new, but delayed policy, all county employees -- including those in public safety positions -- would not be able to take county vehicles home, if they live outside the county, with the exception of emergency responses. Those exceptions, however, would have to be brought in front of the full board for approval, on a case-by-case basis. Police Chief Jeff Turner said the policy doesn't consider law enforcement officers, many of whom live outside the county. "We provide a specific service, and those people are on call 24-7," said Turner. "The officers can't do too much when they are in their personal vehicles. It's an added benefit to have officers who can immediately respond."