THE HAGUE, 22/06/13 - All prisoners are to have a computer in their cells, as part of Security and Justice State Secretary Fred Teeven’s plans for the future of the prison system.
The PCs are intended to contribute to a “worthwhile use of the day” by the prisoners. “One could think here of e-learning, e-health and arranging activities in the area of re-integration and aftercare,” said Teeven.
In a letter to parliament, the state secretary stresses that there will be no question of free use of the Internet. “I very much want to stress that the use of ICT will only be within the framework of the re-socialisation and within a guarded environment.”
"This is bizarre," said Joost Eerdmans, chairman of the Citizens’ Committee against Injustice, which lobbies for the rights of victims of crime. “The time in detention is intended as penance and for altering behaviour. A PC in the cell means that the prison is even more attractive. (Victims’) families will view this proposal with horror. Even more luxury for perpetrators.”
Teeven does not yet wish to say whether prisoners will have access to e-mail or online games. “Just wait until the debate in the Lower House next week.”
“It is above all a saving,” says his spokesman. “For example, no teacher will need to stand in class in the prison any more thanks to e-learning, and no guard therefore need be at the lesson.’
Harry Versteeg, chairman of the association of prison directors, is pleased with the plan. “The are grownup people. They take care of their own affairs in daily life, so why not also in prison.”
Versteeg would also like telephones connected to the cells. “Relationships are often damaged during detention. And it could help if parents could phone their children.”