To facilitate resocialization, Berlin prisons will henceforth offer Internet access for prisoners. Among other things, this will allow them to access certain websites or send e-mails.
Internet access for prisoners: Berlin launches pilot project
A pilot project enabling inmates to access the Internet was launched in early December at the correctional facility (JVA) for women in the Lichtenberg district of Berlin. The so-called prison media system gives inmates the ability to access various websites and send e-mails.
The project announced almost exactly a year ago, but implementation has now been delayed until December 01, 2022.
The goal is to prepare prisoners for life after prison. In October 2023, the project is then expected to be expanded to other Berlin prisons. Berlin’s justice senator Lena Kreck praises the digitization step and says that the resocialization mission is taken very seriously.
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Not all of the Internet is accessible
The new project, he said, aims to promote independence and networking among detainees and give them access to the digital world – until now, detainees could only listen to the radio, watch TV and make phone calls.
Now the aim is to provide access to digital educational offerings and media websites. However, social networks, Internet forums and chats will remain blocked for the time being, according to reports. However, online games are possible.
While certain services such as an appointment calendar, databases and some Internet sites are offered free of charge as part of the JVA basic package, there is a fee for inmate video calls, for example. Sending e-mails also costs money. In addition, the staff reserves the right to check electronic mail on an ad hoc basis.
A total of 3,530 people are currently in custody in Berlin’s seven prisons, and there are currently 146 places for women – 86 women are currently in custody in the prison in Lichtenberg.
Of course, the pilot project also meets with criticism. For example, Holger Krestel, FDP spokesman for legal affairs and constitutional protection, believes that the justice system should be made more modern and digital, and that prisons should be made more secure, rather than focusing on Internet access.