For the first time in Australia, computer tablets are available in cells for prisoners to use for rehabilitation, communication, and education. Dillwynia Correctional Centre, John Morony Correctional Complex, and Clarence Correctional Centre are the first.
The phone call capabilities of these tablets in cells has extended the otherwise strict call times, now allowing inmates to call until 10 pm. One inmate at Dillwynia Correctional Centre, where tablets have now been operational for 5 weeks, was unable to call her daughter during the day due to her daughter being occupied at school. And by the time her daughter returned home from school, this inmate was locked in her cell again, unable to call her. However, upon the introduction of tablets in cells, this inmate is now able to call her daughter, where she reflects this change to have strengthened their relationship.
The tablets currently do not have access to video calling, this is available only on the tablets in the common areas. The ability for individuals to keep in contact with family members allows for processes of rehabilitation to occur.
“This is a new era for NSW prisons by taking an inclusive approach to rehabilitation and lessening the number of victims in our society” said Ken Marslew, CEO Founder, Enough is Enough Anti Violence Movement Inc.
The tablets have also facilitated prisoners’ undertaking of online university courses provided by the University of Southern Queensland, including the Tertiary Preparation Program (TPP). Education is provided to inmates in correctional centres to reduce recidivism. A study by RAND Corporation found that “on average, inmates who participated in correctional education programs had 43 percent lower odds of recidivating than inmates who did not.”
The tablets also allow prisoners to access ABC news, games, and meditation. Prisoners have been told that more sites will be available to them in the future.
“This breakthrough now allows rehabilitation services to be delivered into cells, including access to white-listed secure internet sites. This is consistent with the Government’s aim to reduce recidivism” said the Hon John Dowd AO QC, President of the Community Justice Coalition.
The Premier has set a target of a 5 percent reduction in recidivism, these processes will help to achieve this target.
Corrective services have said that there is capacity to introduce in-cell tablets to six prisons at a time, of the remaining 33 in NSW.