Computers have had a profound impact on society in recent decades – not only in the workplace but also in homes, schools and the public arena. The benefits of computers are invaluable to prisoners, providing a means to access online education, counselling (including domestic violence) and legal services. Whilst computers are readily available and widely used by the public, prisoners have not been afforded the same level of access to computers, often due to misinformed security concerns and the ignorance of prison administrators.
Many prisoners spend up to 18 hours locked in their cells every day. As Justice Action has proposed, having computers in cells would safely and securely help to maximise productivity during the 18 hours prisoners spend in isolation, provide trusted counsellors through external providers, allow for the stability of service providers throughout the sentence and after release and encourage empowerment and self-management.
Prisoners, teachers, service providers, government bodies and enforcement agencies all agree on the need for education within the prison system. They recognise that education is instrumental to the successful rehabilitation of prisoners, contributing to the reduction in rates of recidivism.
On the 20th of April 2017, Justice Action and the Community Justice Coalition officially launched the computers in cells campaign. In order to fund a pilot program, a crowdfunding program was also established.