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The British government could give iPads to its prisoners

The British government could give iPads to its prisoners

December 10, 2015

Here's an interesting one. The British government is, according to a recent report, currently evaluating a proposal to provide prison inmates with iPads for educational and social purposes.

Say what?

It might sound a little, well, in opposition with the concept of state punishment, but the thinking behind the proposal is that through educating prisoners better, inmates are naturally less likely to reoffend once they leave jail. This thought process is sound enough: prisoners do need better educational opportunities in prison, in order to break the offend/reoffend cycle and to allow inmates to successfully re-enter society.

However, what has readers of The Telegraph's article more unsure is the idea that prisoners will also be able to use the iPads to make video calls to loved ones.

FaceTime and Skype

Sir Martin Narey, an advisor to the Ministry of Justice, indeed believes that prisoners should be able to use the iPads to maintain contact with families.

When I joined the prison service in 1982 people were terrified of allowing prisoners to have FM radios. They worried about having telephones on wings, but prisoners should be Skyping or FaceTiming their children. We should use technology for education and to maintain family times.

The proposal is now being considered by Justice Minister Michael Gove.

If iPads can help prisoners raise their levels of academic attainment, this idea is no bad thing. Apple's iOS is a great platform for educators and students, and it could have a huge impact on the futures of inmates if deployed correctly. Sir Martin added, in a criticism of the British justice system:

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.

According to The Telegraph, however, no firm decision on the iPads has yet been made. It'll be interesting to see how this one plays out.