So you’ve committed a crime and gone to jail. You should now expect long days of solitary confinement, perhaps an hour or so per day of exercise, and stringent, indiscernible meals doled out by the scoop on a plastic tray. Well, maybe here in America, yes, but if a recent proposal to the British Government ever sees it’s way through parliament, then perhaps it would be more ideal to get locked up on the other side of the pond.
“And why is that?” you ask. Well, only because the British Government is currently mulling a proposal to give iPads to eligible prison inmates for the purpose of continuing their education and keeping in touch with family and friends via FaceTime and Skype while confined to their cells.
As surprising as the proposition may sound, it’s indeed the case. As The Telegraph recently reported, an assistant to the Minister of Justice, Michael Gove, has suggested and is considering the measure because the British government is seeking to “improve educational opportunities so that prisoners wouldn’t commit subsequent crimes upon their release,” according to a government spokesperson.
And, believe it to not, there actually appears to be a rather broad base of support behind the new measure. It was initially proposed by Dame Sally Coates, a former headteacher in the UK, who’s currently conducting a study of prison inmates’ educational opportunities for the Justice Department.
As Coates noted in her review, “if you haven’t got the skills required to get a job, then you’re much more likely to reoffend upon release.”
Additionally, Jerry Petherick — head of UK prisons outsourcing program — indicated that he personally believed in-cell tablet computers would soon “become the norm,” although he didn’t stop short of warning that “strict regulations would need to be imposed in order to prevent further criminal offenses from materializing.”
It’s a very strange concept, suffice it to say, but it’s apparently being investigated as a legitimate option for inmates with positive track records and those having committed minimalist offenses.
As suggested by Gizmodo, however, since the prisoners are there in the first place as a form of punishment, perhaps they should just be given outdated, 2010 specification Android Tablets, instead?
Personally, I think if you give a dog a bone, he’ll just keep coming back over and over again, but that’s just my two cents.
What are your thoughts on this new proposal? Do you think it’s practical or even necessary to reward criminal offenders with access to technology? Would doing so really prevent subsequent offenses from being committed?