A prison technology company is exploring possibly offering virtual reality to incarcerated people, Vice reports.
Global Tel Link Corporation (GTL) stated in their filed patent documents that the illusion of freedom through virtual reality would allow an inmate to “for a brief time, imagine himself outside or away from the controlled environment.”
The patent document says the technology could be used as a substitute for in-person visitation, the Sept. 9 article stated.
“The news signals the continued ways contractors such as GTL try to monetize their literally captive audience,” Vice stated. GTL also offers phone call services and sells entertainment tablets to prisoners.
“GTL’s patent for replacing in-person prison visits with virtual reality lays bare the company’s ultimate goal of mediating all interactions between incarcerated people and the outside world,” said Cooper Quintin, a technology activist with Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Vice reported VR was used in 2017 by prisons to rehabilitate and prepare soon-to-be-released incarcerated persons in how to do simple everyday tasks that had changed because of newer technology — such as “self-service checkouts in grocery stores and doing their laundry.”
In 2020, the Indiana Journal of Law and Social Equality examined possible ways that VR tech could be used to enhance punishment.