Prisoners should be encouraged to use Facebook and Skype | Letters

Nick Moss says the Ministry of Justice’s ban on social media use in jails is ill-considered

The Ministry of Justice could take a more imaginative approach to the accessing of social media by sentenced prisoners (Prison chiefs struggle to control use of social media by inmates, 10 July). Prisoners could be encouraged to use Facebook and Skype to maintain family ties. Prison education classes could be used to develop social media programmes around prison life. In the US such an approach has been adopted re the Ear Hustle podcast from San Quentin, and there exists a UK precedent with National Prison Radio, which has helped teach editing, presentation, production and advertisement skills.

The Prison Service and the Ministry of Justice now accept that in-cell telephones will help keep and improve family life. Wider access to social media could also assist in this, and demonstrate creativity with regard to approaches to rehabilitative works and education. Perhaps the Ministry of Justice’s hostility is because little of this has survived the austerity axe and all most prisoners could presently show on social media is 23-hour bang-up and the widespread use of spice, all enlivened by the occasional riot.
Nick Moss

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