Prison Transition Tools

technology inSIDE prisons

Digital interventions could play an important role in improving connections between incarcerated settings and the outside world; however, this comes with many challenges. The use of digital interventions poses many important questions, such as: what security risks would this instigate, how would we address poor literacy and perceived lack of capability and what could be done to promote engagement with technology? Would the demands on staff be unrealistic for carefully monitoring and managing access? These and many other ethical issues require sensitive consideration, debate and resolution.

mental health CRISIS inside prisons

With an increasingly devastating mental health crisis happening within our prison systems, how can we not commit to trying to develop innovative ways to engage and reform? Disconnect from the outside world and separation from families and support networks arguably have very damaging and enduring consequences to prisoners and society.

In this workshop, we highlight common mental health issues in prison populations, such as self-harm, and discuss some of the main contributing factors for these elevated rates.

DIGITAL transition tools

We also consider how current digital strategies and innovation can be used both inside and outside of prison settings to help support mental health, improve feelings of control and independence, tackle stigma and possibly reduce reoffending when prisoners integrate back into society. Some topics we will focus on in this workshop include digital cognitive modification for hostility bias and aggression (discussing a feasibility study currently being conducted within a UK prison), assisted self-help interventions and interactive social network strategies, particularly for parent-child engagement. 


Learning Objectives


  1. Recognise and consider the main problems faced by prison populations with regards to accessing digital technology.
  2. Gain insights into the complex mental health issues experienced by prisoners, and how the growing mental health crisis is being handled by prison systems in the UK.
  3. Learn about digital tools that are currently being implemented inside prison settings and assess their functionality and capabilities for supporting mental illness.
  4. Explore how can these and other innovative digital tools could be further developed and taken forward to deliver improvements in how mental health support is provided for prisoners (both inside and outside of prison settings) and their care networks.
“They can lock your body, but they can’t trap your mind”
— Kendrick Lamar