The British government is reportedly considering a plan that would give iPads to prison inmates, in order to allow them to continue their education and keep in touch with family members vis FaceTime and Skype while incarcerated.
The Telegraph reports that the recommendation was made by an adviser to the Ministry of Justice, and is being considered by Justice Minister Michael Gove. A spokesman said that the government wanted to improve educational opportunities so that prisoners were less likely to re-offend following their release.
The Telegraph reports there is some support for the idea. “If you haven’t got the skills to get a job, then you’re much more likely to reoffend,” said Dame Sally Coates, a former headteacher who is conducting a review of education in prisons for Mr Gove.
Sir Martin Narey explained to Gizmodo: “Prisoners spend a lot of time in cells, and we need to make that time more constructive. They should be meeting a tutor once a week, but doing work on literacy and numeracy on their own. We could look at giving prisoners iPads to work on in their cells.”
Jerry Petherick, head of UK prisons for outsourcing giant G4S, believe tablets for prisoners would “become the norm”, but also warns that strict controls would be needed to prevent further criminality. (Who will monitor the FaceTime and Skype sessions? Will conjugal visitation via iPad be allowed? Enquiring minds want to know! – Ed.)
Those who question why the prisoners won’t be given those sub-$100 Android tablets that are so easily available would be well advised that such a move might come under the heading of “cruel and unusual punishment.”