Applying a Community Informatics Approach as Part of Rehabilitation in US Prisons
The United States Government has acknowledged that digital literacy is a vital component of 21st century education and civic engagement. As such efforts are being made to draw in segments of the population that are negatively affected by the digital divide. Not included in these efforts is a community of individuals, most of who have the lowest literacy rates and come from the lowest income strata in society—prison inmates. Despite a few scattered attempts, these individuals have virtually no access to resources and training that would create the condition by which when released they will be able to complete commonplace tasks that depend on an assortment of digital technologies. Discussions around access are often confronted with scepticism by prison administration and citizens alike. This paper uses the information obtained about National and Washington state specific prisons to describe the landscape and the importance of preparing incarcerated individuals to confront an information society. Finally, using the Access Rainbow, the paper brings forth obstacles related to introducing a level of access and training that will prepare inmates to be productive participants in a technological based socioeconomic system after release from prison.
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