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Education Services Tool

Use the following handout to help inform your partners about existing and emerging approaches to providing incarcerated students and their instructors with access to advanced technologies. Adopting educational technology is recommended as part of the education services component of the Reentry Education Framework.

Educational Technology in Corrections Handout

Corrections agencies and their education partners increasingly are exploring ways to use educational technology to help prepare students to join our globally networked society; support an education continuum for incarcerated individuals; expand the professional development resources available to instructors; expand the reach of correctional education services; and ease the reentry process by allowing incarcerated individuals to prepare for release. They are using one of the following three approaches to provide secure access:

Isolated Local Server

An isolated local server approach moves Internet content to a facility’s LAN so that the documents can be made available to anyone — administrators, teachers, and students — with access to the offline collection. This approach provides the most security, outside of barring access to any Internet content. However, it requires frequent uploading of Internet content to stay current, and it does not provide real-time access to the Internet or student outcome data to support instruction.

Point-to-Point Secure Line

A point-to-point or dedicated line operates via a virtual circuit setup between the facility and a vendor. Internet content is streamed through the vendor’s server. This approach provides real-time access to the Internet and data to support instruction. It also provides a high level of security but can be expensive because of vendor fees.

Restricted Internet Connection

A restricted Internet connection has routers and firewalls on each end that permits only certain Internet content to come through the system. This requires (1) all nonessential software programs and utilities from the computer to be removed, often referred to as “hardening” equipment; and (2) content to be preapproved, commonly referred to as "white listing." It also can be expensive because of monthly vendor fees. However, it provides real-time access to the Internet and data to support instruction. It also provides a high level of security but is not as secure as the isolated local server and point-to-point approaches.

For more information about advanced technologies in corrections, see the Educational Technology in Corrections 2015 brief and video.

This handout was produced by RTI International under U.S. Department of Education Contract No. EDVAE10O0102. The Department is not responsible for the accuracy of the information contained herein. Inclusion of this information does not constitute an endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education of any products or services offered or views expressed.

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