Some of the internet services, like e-mail, we are used to being free will come at a price for prisoners, Source: Depositphotos

Berlin to give prisoners internet access

Berlin to give prisoners internet access

According to Justice Senator Lena Kreck, internet access is a point of rehabilitation

On 7 December, authorities in Berlin announced a project that will bring internet to the city’s prisons. According to Berlin Justice Senator Lena Kreck, that state will be the first one in Germany to do so at such a scale. Inmates should be able to access the internet from their cells as early as October 2023, the DPA reported.

Expanding prisoners’ access

Currently, prisoners in Berlin have access to TV, radio and they can also make phone calls. However, by adding the internet to the mix, the prisoner population would be more integrated into social life. At the same time, a lot of websites will be restricted, limiting people to email and selected content.

The main focus of prisoners’ internet access would be to help with professional training opportunities while the prisons themselves will carry the cost.  The inmates will also be allowed to use media websites.

Furthermore, the digital services available to prisoners will include, for example, information from the institution, an appointment calendar or a contact database and some websites that are intended to help with rehabilitation.

At the same time, a lot of the services that regular internet users are used to will come at a price in prisons. According to information from authorities, devices and maintenance will be free. However, video calls would be subject to a fee. So will be sending e-mails, which could, in turn, be checked by staff on an ad hoc basis.

A mandate for rehabilitation

The initiative stems from a pilot project launched on 1 December in the women’s prison in Lichtenberg. The system would then be gradually expanded by local authorities to cover all prisons in Berlin, with an end date for the project set for October 2023.

Senator Lena Kreck was quoted in a press statement, explaining: "The state of Berlin is fulfilling its mandate to rehabilitate prisoners and equates living conditions in prison to those in freedom.” However, many information and educational offers are only available digitally. Social networks and public chats or forums will remain blocked for the time being, according to the justice administration.



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