This article sparked my interest (computerweekly article). Email is being introduced for prisoners in London in a trial which could result in widespread email access. My initial gut reaction was skepticism. However, the more I thought about it the more it made sense. We wouldn’t question the prisoner receiving letters so why not email (in this case plain text only). If something as simple as email can reduce re-offending and hence crime then I’m all for it.
Interestingly the article points out that in reality it is the regular contact which seems to reduce re-offending. So I wonder whether virtual visiting using telepresence or high definition teleconferencing will become more common to allow visits where long distance traveling would possibly prevent the visit. I’m sure there are teams in the prison services already thinking about these things but for me looking into a “customer” arena that I have never had any involvement it is very interesting, I’d never in a hundred years thought a benefit of email is reduced crime!