For the good of our community, we need a computer in every prison cell. Computers are a tool to target recidivism through education and self improvement. With the majority of prisoners spending up to 18 hours in their cells, Justice Action believes that the only way to make prisoners productive members of society when they return outside is to give them the tools to do this on the inside.
By simply providing incarcerated individuals with a computer of their own, the number of re-offenders could be drastically reduced. While there are specific security issues which must be considered, technological advances are rapidly ensuring that such concerns are easy to address. Although similar successful models exist in the ACT, Victoria and Norway, computers are currently not provided in individual cells in NSW or most prisons around the world.
Offering a myriad of personal stories and quotes from recent ex-prisoners, the proposal clearly depicts the severely restricted computer access currently being provided. For instance, one prisoner was only able to gain access to a computer five times in a year, consequently forcing them to withdraw from the university and TAFE courses they were undertaking at the time. The provision of computers will come at a very small cost to the Department of Corrective Services NSW, with many organisations having already expressed interest in contributing to the project. Justice Action proposes that computers be equipped with email capabilities and educational resources, whilst simultaneously being centrally managed and resilient to unauthorised modifications.
Introducing such a system would not only directly minimise prison disruption, but also indirectly deter future criminal behaviour by providing prisoners with increased resources - and thus, greater awareness - concerning the workings of the law. With the most significant component of this proposal emphasising prisoner education (a feature which would subsequently increase the likelihood of them obtaining university or TAFE qualifications upon their release), the issue of improved recidivism prospects is pivotal to Justice Action’s proposal.
For more information regarding Computers in Cells: Download latest draft 30/8/12