Skip to main content

Prisoner Education Through Tablet Computers

WHEREAS, many prisoners have no access to computers while incarcerated. Ninety-five percent of prisoners will eventually be released. Upon release from prison, prisoners face a culture shock when faced with the task of having to learn to utilize technology that did not exist when they were last in society; and

WHEREAS, post-high school education has been shown to dramatically reduce recidivism. Many colleges offer college and self-help courses that many prisoners cannot access because they do not possess the technology; and

WHEREAS, there is an increasing number of technological advances such as tablet computers that allow prisoners to participate in programs that are educational and rehabilitative opportunities, such as classes in job skills, job training, self-help, computer literacy, and business. This technology allows prisoners with disabilities to access information and for all prisoners to do legal research, while also allowing prison officials to monitor prisoners' computer related activities and restrict prisoners' access to any online venue deemed inappropriate; and

WHEREAS, many prisoners need to have large amounts of paperwork related to criminal appeals and case files; while prison officials also have a legitimate interest in limiting the amount of paperwork in each prisoner's possession; and

WHEREAS, many prisoners are limited to ownership of a small number of books because of the need for prisons to limit the amount of paperwork in a prisoner's possession; and

WHEREAS, computer access can provide significant incentive to better behavior; it reduces staff workload by reducing paperwork, books, etc., thereby making searches of the prison easier; and it lowers recidivism rates by connecting prisoners with their families, while introducing prisoners to technology, and allowing more access to education; and

WHEREAS, tablet computers are already available to prisoners in California, Washington, Georgia, Virginia, Michigan, Ohio, Maryland, North Dakota, Louisiana, Idaho and Pennsylvania with extremely positive results.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People ("NAACP") shall advocate for the provision of technology such as tablet computers that will allow prisoners to pursue education and learn necessary computer skills; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the NAACP shall call upon all prison officials and state and federal legislators for immediate research, adoption and implementation of allowing tablet computers and other technology to be afforded to prisoners without financial exploitation of prisoners or their families.