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Give prisoners iPads 'for education and to maintain family times'

Prisoners should be given iPads to be able to work and video call their families, an adviser to the Ministry of Justice has said.

Technology could help improve a prisoner's numeracy and literacy skills as well as helping them to maintain family relationships, said Sir Martin Narey.

The use of such technology would make the time prisoners spend in their cells more constructive, the former head of the prison service told The Times.

"We could look at giving prisoners iPads in their cells," he said, recalling a fear that existed when he first joined the service in 1982 around allowing inmates access to telephones and radios.

He added: "They were worried about having telephones on wings, but prisoners should be skyping or facetiming their children. We should use technology for education and to maintain family times."

The proposals are being considered by Justice Minister Michael Gove, the paper reported.

Improving learning could help reduce reoffending, said Dame Sally Coates, who is currently leading a review of education in prisons.

"If you haven't got the skills to get a job, then you're much more likely to reoffend," she told the paper.

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