Written Question on Prisons: Computers

Written Questions are submitted by MPs or Lords to receive information from a Department.

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Date Title Questioner
18 Jul 2017, 3:45 p.m. Prisons: Computers David Hanson


To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what guidelines his Department has produced for prisons on Access to Justice on (a) how and when computers can be accessed by prisoners and (b) for how long and what actions and tasks can be undertaken.

Answer (Mr Sam Gyimah)

All prisoners are able to request access to IT for legal purposes. However, there is a clear need to balance the need to access electronic legal information with the risk that some prisoners may seek to use IT for illicit or criminal purposes. Therefore, prisoners are only provided with IT equipment where there is a clear and genuine need, and where not to do so would raise a real risk of prejudicing the legal proceedings.

Where such a requirement is clear, a prisoner can be provided with IT for the sole specified purpose of considering digital evidence. The IT can be made available for as long as the requirement to use it remains, up to the conclusion of the relevant legal proceedings.

There is currently no national guidance on the process for access to digital evidence (formerly access to justice). Local procedures for assessing access to digital evidence have been developed in collaboration with the High Security and Long Term Estate and the Directorate of Security, Order and Counter Terrorism Guidance on the procedures for applying for, and receiving, access to digital evidence will be published for prison staff and prisoners this year.

Information on the number of applications made and approved for access to digital evidence is not held centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

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