12 – 14 June 2019

Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh

Session type:
Case Study

Session duration:
60 minutes

Presented by:

Amber Westerholm - Smyth

Ministry of Justice

About this Case Study

Ever considered switching your laptop to read-only access? Such a notion is easily dismissed by most. It would remove all the added benefits that a computer brings. However, for circa 2000 prisoners, that is exactly what we have done: provided laptops with read-only access.

This research project set out to investigate the impact of not having access to in-cell digital word processing tools on prisoners. Conducting research in prison requires operating in a hostile environment with vulnerable users. This case study is about how we did it and what we found.

About the Speaker

I am a user researcher at the Ministry of Justice. I predominantly work on digital service development for prisoners in the prison environment. I spend the majority of my time up and down the country moving through the prison estate conducting research in prison, with prisoners and those that work with them.

I have a master's degree in the social science of the internet from the Oxford Internet Institute and as a digital ethnographer, I'm insatiably curious and constantly baffled by the complexity and often ineffectuality of systems I encounter. Digital is the future but should not necessarily be the default answer.


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