By Christopher Zoukis
Excerpt from original article published in The Huffington Post on May 27, 2015.
In an era where American prison administrators are losing the battle against illicit cell phone usage in our nation's prisons and lawmakers are creating draconian criminal statues to punish offenders, New Zealand's newest prison, the high-security Auckland South Corrections Facility in Wiri (which is also known as Kohuora), is permitting inmates to use both cell phones and computers, plus some to use tablet computers, in their cells.
The new $300 million, 960-bed prison, which is operated by private prison provider Serco(1), opened May 8, 2015, but prisoners didn't start arriving until May 18. Between 60 and 70 inmates will arrive weekly at the prison through August. The complex consists of 30 buildings, including inmate housing units, recreational facilities, a school, and buildings designed for inmate industry activities. At maximum capacity it will house a quarter of the country's prisoners.
Serco also operates the same "responsible prisoner model" in its prisons in the United Kingdom. Both there and in Wiri inmates have access to cell phones, through which they can call pre-approved numbers, and televisions, which have a keyboard and mouse attached to aid in educational programming. All telephone calls are monitored and prisoners can't call one another. The televisions, which have computer functionality, do not allow for internet access.
You can read the full article on The Huffington Post.