Tablet computers will be distributed in Dutch prisons

    “Luxury” solitary confinement cell in the Dutch prison Norgerhaven

    The Netherlands Ministry of Justice announced a plan on how to make the life of prisoners more independent in order to minimize communication with warders. This plan includes the distribution of tablet computers that will help to brighten up loneliness, give access to TV channels and e-books, online education courses, as well as limited Internet access on the “white” list of sites.

    It is assumed that through the tablet prisoners will also be able to order food at the prison shop and set a time for visits.

    A ministry spokesman said that there would also be job placement sites in the “white” list of resources so that the prisoner would select suitable vacancies in advance and decide on a future job site.

    In a couple of years, digital libraries will take the place of conventional libraries with paper books. Among other things, this will save resources, because the maintenance of a digital library does not require such a number of staff as for the distribution of paper books.

    Digital resources for Dutch prisoners should be available in 2017.

    Some critics saythat distribution of tablet computers is an inhuman attempt by the Ministry of Justice to reduce costs, to transfer prisoners to self-service. Tablets are cheaper than staff. At the same time, excessive independence and isolation of prisoners can lead to "unpredictable consequences": for example, a prisoner may become depressed and think about suicide, and no one will even notice.

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