Building pathways to education for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people means creating access to technology.
But there are unique barriers to providing technology to those in prison. Correctional control, lack of specialized resources, and environmental obstacles like rurality make it much harder to build technology into their lives, putting them at a further disadvantage when they return home.
A Resource Guide for Serving Incarcerated Individuals
With this in mind, the federal government has prioritized digital equity, including getting underserved communities like those currently and formerly incarcerated access to technology.
And recently, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration released a guide highlighting the power of programs building digital service inclusivity for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals–including the Reentry Campus Program.
Digital Equity in Prisons Matter
But this is about more than just giving people access to the internet. More than 6 million people in the US are on probation, in jail, in prison, or on parole at any time, and the system touches millions more in their communities.
Investing in broadband infrastructure and digital skills is critical for empowering incarcerated individuals to increase their chances for successful reentry–giving them access to the tools they need inside to get ready when they return home.
Digital equity creates educational access for incarcerated people. It impacts all of us because it helps shift correctional cultures toward education, changes lives and communities, increases public safety, and reduces the immediate and collateral costs of prison in the long run.