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Digitalisation in prison : an exploratory study of living and working in prisons in Belgium

Book Contribution - Book Abstract Conference Contribution

Background: Prisons in Belgium are increasingly affected by the digital turn, which challenges living and working in it. Initiatives include e-learning, in-cell telephone, and a video call-project. Newly opened prisons in Belgium even run a digital platformfor prisoners, called PrisonCloud. So far, research studying digitalisation in prison is scarce. The aim of this research is therefore to assess how prisoners’ access to and use of digital technologies affect living and working in prison. Method: As part of a larger project, in which ethnographic research was conducted in a PrisonCloud prison, three prisons with a different extent of (non-PrisonCloud) digitalisation were selected: one prison with and one prison without in-cell telephone, and one prison with video-call possibilities. In these prisons, interviews were conducted with prisoners (n=18) and prison officers (n=14), focusing on their experiences on the access to and the use of digital technologies in prison and the impact of digitalisation on living and working in prison. Results: This presentation will focus on the impact of the access to and use of digital technologies on the experiences of prisoners, on the experiences, tasks and functions of prison officers, and on the prisoner-staff relationships. Based on the results of this study, the development of a survey about digitalisation will be discussed, challenges will be highlighted and recommendations will be formulated.
Book: EUROCRIM 2020, 20th Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology, Book of Abstracts
Pages: 46 - 47
Publication year:2020