PERSONAL DEVICES TO SUPPORT PRISONERS IN THEIR TERTIARY STUDIES

The successful partnership between QCS and the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) is continuing through the “Making the Connection” project, with the introduction of personal devices for prisoners participating in tertiary education. Education can be life changing, and supports those released from prison to employment and desistance from offending. With the large scale move to internet based courses, engagement for prisoners is becoming increasingly difficult and resource intensive for staff.

This project has developed innovative and efficient ways for prisoners to directly engage in their study through digital mediums, and has included trials of e-readers, development of the Offline Study Desk, and most recently, the trial of offline personal devices (11 inch Dell notebooks), with Queensland being the first state in Australia to adopt the devices.

The trial was conducted with education officers and student prisoners at Brisbane Women’s, Wolston Correctional Centres, and Borallon Training and Correctional Centre. The devices are preloaded with higher education courses, providing a simulation of the online environment experienced by students in the community.

The feedback from the trial was overwhelmingly positive, with prisoners finding the devices enabled them to have autonomy in their studies, with all the resources they needed at their fingertips. The devices could potentially alleviate the demands on education officers, reducing the need to download course materials for students. The use of the personal device also reduces movement of prisoners to the computer labs.

Additional personal devices will be rolled out to participating correctional centres across the state in stages, commencing July 2016.

Pictured: Leigh Ittensohn, Senior Programs Officer, Wolston Correctional Centre.