New Media Usage and the Impact on Inmates' Technological Profiles and Their Infocommunicational Skills

New Media Usage and the Impact on Inmates' Technological Profiles and Their Infocommunicational Skills

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5975-7.ch010
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We live in a period of new literacies development, specifically the technological ones. Contact with new media or changes in more traditional ones leads to a need for different social, intellectual, and educational tools. As a consequence of the new demands of the twenty-first century, teaching had to be updated and monitored in order to foster the inclusion of individuals at school, work, socially, and digitally. The learning of technological tools should not marginalize individuals for their geographic, economic, and/or social characteristics, and should happen in an equitable way regardless of the teaching context. Media education is a factor that can favorably contribute to the process of the inmate inclusion in “free society” and to reduce recidivism. The chapter intends to reflect on the integration of the new media in the Portuguese education system in general, and later to analyze it in micro contexts, by comparative observation of the “citizen-inmate.”
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In Portugal, the integration of new media happened gradually. In 1856 appeared the telegraph which linked the Terreiro do Paço to Cortes and the Palace of Necessities to Sintra1. The first experiments carried out with the telephone happened in 1877, with the aim of connecting Lisbon to Carcavelos and the observatories of the Escola Politécnica and Tapada da Ajuda (Santos, 1999, p. 1). And it was in the early 20th century that the first Morse radio contacts were established2. These were the first media that allowed people to communicate and since then, although a little slowly, they have been evolving and the need to integrate more and better communication and information technologies has arisen.

Nevertheless, the technology explosion in Portugal, like in the rest of the world, was not linear, since the research and development around it is a process that can last for decades until its massive use. Thinking back to the beginning of the 1950s, the memory that may arise with the media is related to radio and telephone. In fact, it was these same technologies that enabled and encouraged the development of television in the late 1950s in Portugal and of the mobile phone in the 1990s (Williams, 1966/1989, p. 101).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Prison: Place of execution of the sentence attributed to the citizen in situation of imprisonment, in the Portuguese case, belonging to the domain of the Central Public Administration.

Infocommunicational Skills: Skills acquired or taken for the use of technological artifacts (hardware and software), of various nature: operational, informational, communicational, and ethical.

Education System: Also in the area of Public Administration (local and central), it is responsible for the definition of levels, curricula, infrastructures construction, among all the areas that compose Pre-school education (with the prevalence of private administration in some cases), secondary education and higher education (with prevalence of private administration also in some cases).

Inmate: Citizen who is in a situation of imprisonment in an official prison, to serve a sentence for a criminal or illegal act committed.

New Media: All the media that have undergone transformation to adapt to the new technological requirements or that have been created in the light of the new demands of the citizen.

Technological Profile: Profile of the individual regarding their use of technology and new media.

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