Prisoners in the UK will now have access to email. The Home Office is drawing up plans for a pilot scheme in a single jail to give inmates Internet use, despite previous fears that it could be a potential security risk. Officials said the project at Wandsworth jail in south London would only go ahead if there were systems in place to prevent “potential abuses”.
The project is designed to help offenders learn new skills and keep in contact with family and friends, they said.Under the scheme, all inmates at London’s seven prisons will receive new education and training courses delivered through Internet, but will not be able to “surf” the web.
A Home Office spokesman said: “The plans to trial a system to provide email to offenders in one prison will not go ahead until ministers are persuaded that mechanisms to prevent potential abuses are in place”.
“The National Offender Management Service is looking at how to provide a secure IT infrastructure to facilitate internet-delivered learning courses in seven London prisons. These proposals will not give prisoners access to the internet,” the Sun quoted him as saying.
“While the Internet will be used as a delivery mechanism, all that any individual prisoner will have access to is the specific training course that the education department of the prison has explicitly assigned them,” he said.
So far, prisoners have been denied access to Internet and email because of fears that it could be used to plan escape bids or that certain inmates, such as sex offenders, could use it to view inappropriate and obscene material.