Prisons: Digital Technology

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 27th June 2022.

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Photo of Ellie Reeves Ellie Reeves Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what his Department's timeline is for the work to improve digital access across the prison estate.

Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

A key strategic objective of the 2021-2024 HMPPS Digital, Data, and Technology Strategy is to give the people in our care digital tools and technology to support their rehabilitation, including prisoner education and administration. Within that strategy, we have committed to making laptops available in prisoners’ cells in up to 15 prisons through the In-Cell Technology programme by the end of October 2022. We have now completed deployments to 9 sites, with a further 4 to be completed by October, and we are also refreshing the devices and service in the two original in-cell prisons (Wayland and Berwyn) to ensure they remain secure and supportable. Furthermore, we have now enabled the rollout of the education software, Virtual Campus 2, on in-cell laptops, offering people in prison access to education services while in their cell.

We acknowledge the potential benefits this can bring to prisons, with initial feedback from prisons highlighting the time saved for staff and the benefits to prisoners’ wellbeing, including reducing levels of stress and anxiety. Consequently, we aim to continue our work on this programme and continue rollout to more of the prison estate in the coming years.

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