Crossing the cultural divide: overcoming inequities for NESB prisoners using digital technologies

Farley, Helen and Hopkins, Susan and Cox, Jacinta and Seymour, Stephen (2015) Crossing the cultural divide: overcoming inequities for NESB prisoners using digital technologies. In: Language, Culture and Technology in a Connected World Symposium (sLCT 2015), 01 June 2015, Toowoomba, Australia.


One of the fastest growing groups in Australian prisons are people from Non English Speaking backgrounds (NESB). They are generally overrepresented in the criminal justice system in part due to increased migration and globalisation, but mostly because of their difficulties in seeking adequate legal representation and access to justice. They pose a significant challenge for correctional jurisdictions as these prisoners, due to difficulties with language, have limited social opportunities, and greatly diminished access to legal, medical and educational resources. While most jurisdictions ensure that prison inductions are conducted in the prisoner’s first language, this is often the last time the attempt is made.

While in prison, NESB prisoners are subject to racism and persecution from fellow inmates. This is a particular issue for some Aboriginal prisoners where in some jurisdictions, English may be their second, third or even fourth language. There are significant differences in how prisoners from different cultural backgrounds interact and socialise, practice their religion, and celebrate their cultures. These differences present both a variety of challenges, but also some opportunities.

Technology has the potential to alleviate some of the issues associated with incarceration for NESB prisoners. Even so, access to technology and resources is made even more difficult as most Australian jurisdictions don’t allow access to the internet. This paper concludes with an overview of some recommendations for the use of technology within correctional centres to alleviate some of the challenges faced by male and female prisoners from NESB.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Abstract only.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Australian Digital Futures Institute
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2016 06:45
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2017 23:37
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130306 Educational Technology and Computing
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130302 Comparative and Cross-Cultural Education
16 Studies in Human Society > 1602 Criminology > 160202 Correctional Theory, Offender Treatment and Rehabilitation
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9302 Teaching and Instruction > 930203 Teaching and Instruction Technologies
C Society > 94 Law, Politics and Community Services > 9404 Justice and the Law > 940408 Rehabilitation and Correctional Services

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