Imprisonment and internet-access : human rights, the principles of normalization and the question of prisoners access to digital communications technology
Peter Scharff Smith
Host item entries:
Nordic journal of human rights, Vol. 30, no. 4, 2012, p. 454-482
One of the big current challenges for prison systems and penal legislators is how, when and to what degree digital communications technology is to be made available for persons deprived of their liberty. The use of internet and mobile phones has, during the last two decades, become ingrained in our practices and culture in modern societies at an incredible rate, and by virtue of being largely shut off from these developments prisoners have, at the same time, arguably become increasingly isolated. In this article, the question of inmate access to, and use of, the internet will be explored from a human rights perspective and by highlighting the question of prisoner reintegration into society. Problematic issues involving prisoner internet access will also be discussed. Finally the question will be raised of whether or not prisoner internet-access and use can potentially justify a need to re-evaluate the whole concept of imprisonment and the rights of prisoners.