The IT-Service Centre Berlin (ITDZ), Fraunhofer FOKUS and the Institute for Education in the Information Society (IBI) kicked off a research project which explores how digital media can benefit detainees in German prisons while maintaining security standards. The project is sponsored by the State Ministry of Justice and Consumerism Berlin.

Digital education and leisure activities during detainment can contribute to social rehabilitation, but the underlying technology must perform well under high security standards.

On the one hand, digital media must be accessible and incorporated in the daily detention life, on the other hand, any form of misconduct must be prevented.

Usually, educational services, leisure activities or job applications for the time after release using digital media are only accessible via specialized computing rooms in a very restricted way. This way of contact with digital technologies is nowhere near the reality that awaits the detainees after release and might then add even further to already existing rehabilitation barriers.

The research team examines educational, organisational and security issues, for example regarding the strict interior building regulations in German prisons or ensuring that the hardware assets can only be used to access e.g. offline-encyclopaedias, internal application forms or email, while unlimited internet access is prevented. To keep the administrational expenses as low as possible, a special emphasis is given to established standard products.

The digital solutions in prisons should range from booking of sports classes online to optimising and automating internal administrative processes.

The project will commence this winter with the first group of selected detainees and is supposed to prove how suitable the proposed solutions are for daily use.

Joern Oldag, DVZ
Joern Oldag, DVZ
Joern Oldag is an internal advisor at DVZ and a member of the Joint Advisory Group within Euritas.