Incarcerated people’s challenges for digital inclusion in Finnish prisons
Järveläinen, Eeva; Rantanen, Teemu (2020)
Taylor & Francis
Julkaisun pysyvä osoite on
The digitization of society creates both challenges and opportu-nities for prisons. Previous studies show that prisons’ digitization affects interaction between incarcerated people, prison culture and reduces recidivism, however it also poses security risks. In this study, we ask how do barriers to digital inclusion appear among incarcerated people in the prison context, and how do they per-ceive whether face-to-face interactions with employees can be replaced by digital services. The analytical starting points of the study are rhetorical analysis and Goffman ́s micro-sociological ana-lysis. The research material consists of 26 incarcerated people’s interviews from different parts of Finland. The results show that gaps in digital skills and access to the internet are key barriers to digital inclusion in prisons. The question of whether digital services can replace face-to-face encounters raised conflicting comments. Interviewees emphasized the importance of social interaction in their desistance, but also the benefits of digitization such as the possibility of anonymity. In addition, the research highlights the tense nature of prison culture, as well as the different aspirations of prisoners. The pursuit of digital agency can also manifest itself in various secondary adjustments. The digitization of prisons means a change in the prison employee’s role and work approach.