A investigative report has revealed inmates at HMP Wayland are allowed to use laptops to order meals from inside their cells. Inmates can use the laptops to choose which meals they would like to eat and submit commissary orders, all from the confines of their cells. On top of the computers, inmates are also given telephones to keep in contact with relatives but it is unclear how they are able to determine if a person is related or not.
The access to technology is part of a controversial program called the "digitalisation project" which the category C facility in Norfolk allows their 1,000 inmates to use laptops and telephones inside their cells. HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) says, "These small laptop computers enabled them to take responsibility for day-to-day tasks such as submitting applications, selecting meal choices and ordering from the prison shop, without having access to the internet. Prisoners whose net book was removed for poor behaviour or who chose not to have one could access the same services using kiosks in communal wing areas."
HMIP went on to say, "Access to in-cell telephones and secure laptops that eased access to administrative systems was, in our view, the way forward and an example of good practice." Earlier this year, a Government-ordered review suggested allowing some prisoners to use video-calling technology as a form of "virtual visits." The majority of prisoners at HMP Wayland are serving lengthy prison sentences, many of which are life sentences.
It seems the program may be on to something as the use of such technologies from within their cells prompts good behavoir since any misconduct will result in these amenities being taken away. There is also a concern for misuse of the technology but since the computers are not connected to the internet it is unlikely this will occur.
The inspectors concluded the jail was benefiting from the "digitalisation project" and safety was improving. Chief executive of HM Prison and Probation Service said, "The Chief Inspector has commended the positive work being done at Wayland to tackle violence and drug use and to support effective rehabilitation."
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