The Sunday Times reports of a plan by the Scottish prison system to raise "literacy" and "numeracy" skills among its prison population by giving the inmates access to Nintendo DS systems.
The program would be tested in a small number of prison libraries and would involve literacy experts working with the prisoners. Prison officials note that inmates already have access to PlayStations, so going with the DS is seen as consistent and, perhaps, an improvement:
The devices, fitted with "brain training" software, will be put on trial on the advice of Scottish government officials who believe they will reduce the chances of the prisoners reoffending after they have served their sentences by improving their employment prospects.
A government study into the education of prisoners, Learning in Custody: Report of the Offender Learning in Custody Workstream, concluded that convicts would benefit from the devices, which are currently being used in many primary schools to raise attainment.
"Initial findings suggest it is both motivational and enables less confident learners to close the gap on others," said the report.
A Scottish group representing taxpayers calls the plan "ridiculous," given that many Sottish citizens can't even afford DSes for their kids in these tough economic times.
However, a spokesman for the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) said he believed that the use of games consoles could cut levels of reoffending.
"We are anxious to improve the life skills of prisoners and sharpen their education skills," he said.
Inmates to get Nintendo games [The Sunday Times of London]