The Netherlands' justice minister has proposed putting a personal computer in every prison cell in the country, in one of the more unusual measures under consideration by the Dutch government to reduce the national deficit.
"It's not quite as exciting as it sounds at first," ministry spokesman Jaap Oosterveer said Friday. He says the computers would be stripped-down machines with no email and little or no Internet access.
The main reason for installing them would be to reduce the amount of time worked by guards. Oosterveersays prisoners would use computers to fill in their food, visiting and exercise schedules.
But there is also an educational element in Minister Fred Teeven's plan, as prisoners eligible for release may be allowed to use the computers for approved study programs.