Computers In Cells
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 the Community Justice Coalition and Justice Action have 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.
MEDIA RELEASE DEC 2017: COMPUTERS BREAKTHROUGH
"The Community Justice Coalition congratulates the ACT government for their use of in-cell technology over 8 years to deliver services to prisoners necessary for their rehabilitation. Currently only 39% of ACT prisoners return to prison within 2 years, compared to NSW at 50.7%. Educational participation in the ACT stands at 76.3%, more than double the national rate of 31.6%" said CJC President, the Hon John Dowd AO QC. See the ACT Computers in Cells Report just released here... read more.
ACT PRISON REPORT
ACT Computers in Cells Report The Community Justice Coalition (CJC) resolved to arrange a visit to the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC), Australian Capital Territory. This visit intended to extend the work into the Computers in Cells program. The insights of the ACT experience with in-cell technology would also promote further discussions in other jurisdictions. That experience of internet-connected computers in cells indicates that there are many key benefits including communication with families, access to education...read more.
CJC's letter examines the overwhelming benefits of computers in cells and mental hospitals and aims to improve the detriments of the current system. Computers in cells would provide access to counselling, education and legal services for prisoners which would in turn support rehabilitation and reduce recidivism rates. Our letter addresses and disputes issues the government have...read more.
This paper estimates that over 500 women and children could have been spared the traumatic effects of domestic violence if the NSW Government had accepted the free offer of online counselling for prisoners in their cells. Additionally $110 million dollars could have been saved over the past twelve months. While access to counselling programs is vital to prisoner rehabilitation, the NSW Auditor General recently found that 75% of prisoners are unable to gain entry. Online services delivered to prisoners in cells where they spend 18 hours in isolation would solve the problem of access...read more.
MEDIA RELEASE: NSW NEEDS COMPUTERS IN CELLS
"Providing people in prison with computers in their cells would radically improve the outcome for prisoners" said CJC President, the Hon John Dowd AO QC at the launch of the Computers in Cells campaign. "It would enable delivery of domestic violence and de-radicalisation counselling, education, and legal aid services safely and efficiently. The ACT government has safely had computers in cells for the last nine years"...read more.
COMPUTERS IN CELLS PROJECT CROWDFUNDING
The campaign for the Computers in Cells project has officially been launched. All Members of Parliament, Judges and Magistrates have been sent letters requesting their support for the Computers in Cells campaign. We need your help to ensure that this campaign gains momentum. Every single donation counts in maintaining human rights in the hardest of places, and in giving inmates access to life-changing counselling, legal and education services through computers in cells...read more.
For further information, see Justice Action's Computers in Cells index page