Since the early 1980s there have been rapid and profound technological changes in society. Digital technology has become an integral part of our lives. We use swipe-card technology and mobile phones to pay for items and services. We conduct social and economic transactions via email, web-based, or social media platforms. And we continue to adapt our homes, workplaces, and learning environments as technology advances.
Most people in custody are already socially and economically disadvantaged. Often they have lower socioeconomic status, poor health, high unemployment and low levels of education (Murphy, 2012). As society moves towards digitised learning and working environments, the digital, social, and communication divide between people in custody and the outside world increases. This results in further exclusion of those who are already socially excluded.
In recent years, the Department of Justice (formerly the Department of Corrective Services) has embraced technologies such as electronic monitoring of offenders, surveillance and scanning equipment, and computerised case management and reporting. Using such technologies can improve efficiency and service outcomes. However, people in custody have gained little from advances in digital technology, resulting in digital inequalities and a widening digital divide.