Online Etiquette for Reentering Formerly Incarcerated?

Hello All,

I subscribe to the LinkedIn group Technology in Education (TechED) and recently came across the discussion posting below:

Helping Kids Manage the New Rules of Digital Etiquette - Raising Digital Natives Kids Manage the New Rules of Digital Etiquette Many parents feel lost navigating the changing landscape of digital etiquette. So what can you do to learn the rules, together with your child?

It reminded me that part of the push to implement technology in corrections classrooms is so that incarcerated learners will not be at a complete loss in knowing how to navigate our increasingly technology saturated world. Correctional educators have been doing a great job of simulating on-line environments and I think many talk about the changes taking place outside of the prison walls, but how will these returning citizens succeed on the outside without any working knowledge of the technology that is more and more necessity -- for job applications as well as many actual duties of employment (retail, taxi or delivery driver, teacher), banking, shopping, communications etc...etc...?

-- Heather Erwin, Correctional Ed SME


I would expect those incarcerated, in many cases, may not have the experience of using social media and understand the "rules" of digital etiquette. As per the article referenced in Heather's post, it is an issue we all deal with, both as parents and anyone who uses social media

My experience working with a wide-scale technical deployment in corrections in Illinois is that younger inmates are eager for access and use of technology; inmates that are older or have been incarcerated longer are less familiar with technology and in many cases are tentative about using the technology. I am not sure either group is truly technology literate, or appropriate.

But generally, even those inmates who are less familiar with technology have expressed the understanding that they need to become familiar with technology; particularly those who are close to being released. They know they are going to need to understand and use technology when they are released.

In our support of our deployment in corrections, we have been working with instructors to prepare them for using the technology-based curriculum. The first step in preparing inmates to effectively use technology is to ensure that the instructional staff are prepared to use the technology. Many instructional staff are familiar with technology use, but some just have not had the opportunity to use technology in their classrooms.

One area of focus for us is to consider developing transition curriculum that utilizes technology in its presentation. Rather than just create a how-to use technology module, our goal is to create modules that assist with inmates’ transitions, and as part of going through the module would require using technology tools and techniques that inmates will see on the outside.

In conversation with inmates, they know they are going to need to be able to use technology when they are released, and are anxious for any help in understanding what might be expected when they are released. Those using our curriculum have expressed interest in more real-world examples of what they will experience in the job world.


Thanks Richard,

This is fantastic information, and exactly what I was looking for.  I think you are right that the first, and most important, step in creating an environment in which incarcerated learners are getting the information and access they need to successfully reenter a technology-overloaded world is making sure that the instructors they rely on for that information are well trained and able to give examples from their own lives and experiences about their use of tech in day to day life. I'm very excited to hear more about i-Pathways rollout and expansion.  It's an amazing, and much needed, project.

-- Heather Erwin, Correctional Education SME

Hello Richard,

As per our exchange above I received a great event alert from in my email this morning.  According to their website's Digital Citizenship project provides ideas and discussions about how to help kids be safe, responsible, and respectful participants in a digital world by helping address issues such as:

  • cyberbullying
  • privacy
  • digital footprints
  • copyright and plagiarism
  • information literacy
  • Internet safety
The ideas and events developed by this community could, and should, be modified for the adult and corrections environments, but until that happens (and I think our LINCS online community is definitely the one that should be helping to modify/develop content and promote the importance of having these conversations with reentering incarcerated students) the resources at are pretty fantastic.  Please consider taking a look and registering for the Character Education in a Digital World webinar.   -- Heather Erwin, Correctional Education SME

Hi all,

Just to underscore the importance (and lack of) Digital Literacy, Pew recently posted two related news stories

Half of online Americans don’t know what a privacy policy is


The darkest side of online harassment: Menacing behavior

Does this ring true for the students in your classes?  How about the teachers in your programs?