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Statement following Submission on the Rehabilitation and Re-integration for Prisoners
Prisoners need internet access for their education, human rights group Liberty Victoria says.
This follows a successful trial of prisoners having internet access in the ACT.
Victorian prisoners are denied access to online education. Because universities and TAFEs increasingly rely on digital course materials, the ban hinders prisoners pursuing tertiary qualifications. It is also hard for prisoners to find information on the resources available, let alone meaningfully participate in courses.
Liberty Victoria supported a trial internet access program in its recent submission to the Victorian Ombudsman’s investigation into prisoner rehabilitation.
The program would involve close monitoring of internet usage, drawing on a similar initiative in the ACT. Prisoners at the human rights compliant Alexander Maconochie Centre enjoy limited online access under close supervision.
Liberty Victoria President George Georgiou SC said "under the Corrections Act prisoners have a right to participate in educational programs within the prison. Such programs often require access to online educational resources. Any security concerns can be adequately addressed, as they are in the ACT."
Mr Georgiou noted the recent concerns of Police and Corrections Minister, Wade Noonan, that there are “more people returning to prison”. Mr Georgiou said “one way to tackle the problem of recidivism is to provide prisoners with meaningful educational opportunities that will better equip them for life once they return to the community.”
Liberty Victoria’s full submission can be found at: http://libertyvictoria.org/submissions