Mavjuda Ostanaboyeva

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Due to the fact that the 21st century is considered to be the century of information technology, in recent years, processes such as digitization, implementation and application of technology have continued in almost all sectors of the economy in many countries around the world. Successful digital government projects around the world have shown that new technologies can be used to improve the organization of government work. Digital transformation means much more than “going paperless”: the transformation stage means that the use of digital technologies inherently enables new kinds of innovation and creativity in a particular area, rather than simply enhancing and supporting traditional methods.

The digitalization of prisons offers various benefits and improves the functioning of correctional institutions. In my opinion, prisons should be digitized for these purposes:

  1. Efficiency and Streamlined Processes: Digitization reduces manual paperwork, streamlines administrative processes, and enhances overall efficiency in managing inmate records, scheduling, and other routine tasks.
  2. Improved Security Measures: Digital systems contribute to better security within prisons by implementing advanced access control, surveillance, and monitoring technologies, helping prevent incidents and ensuring the safety of both inmates and staff.
  3. Enhanced Inmate Rehabilitation: Digitization allows for the implementation of educational and vocational programs through online platforms, promoting rehabilitation and skill development among inmates, and facilitating their reintegration into society.
  4. Access to educational resources: Digital platforms allow prisoners to access educational materials, online courses and vocational training, facilitating lifelong learning and personal development.

The digitization of prisons and the provision of access to technology for prisoners will ensure the implementation of the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Below are some principles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Digitization of prisons in foreign countries

The digital transformation of prisons is not only the introduction of videoconferencing systems or a new offender management system, but also stand-alone solutions such as installing kiosks or issuing tablets to prisoners, creating lists of prisoners and convicts. The experience of Singapore can be cited as an example. According to Shi Yong Lee, Commissioner of Prisons at the Singapore Prison Service, “In Singapore, prisoners have access to special tablets to listen to rehabilitation and resource materials – such as e-learning platforms and motivational podcasts – to learn at their own pace. Different learning modes increase interactivity and promote engagement. These tablets are designed exclusively for learning and socializing.

Due to security reasons, these tablets have limited applications and generally do not have Wi-Fi or internet access.”Apart from that, prisons in countries such as Finland, the Netherlands, and Germany have already been digitized. According to Penal Reform International, Finland’s Smart Prison project is showing positive results. Prisoners can utilize the system for messaging, requests, and video calls with staff, health services, NGOs, and relatives. Internet via a whitelist, including educational websites such as Moodle, an online shopping platform, tools for rehabilitation and daily management, as well as basic office tools and access to reading and storage material and e-books.

The case of Uzbekistan

Although in Uzbekistan there are a number of problems and shortcomings regarding the digitization of penal institutions, that is, prisons, and the introduction of technologies into this system, a number of reforms have been implemented in recent years in order to eliminate these problems. We can take, as an example, this information about Uzbekistan published on the Xinhua website. According to it, “a draft document authorizing enrollment in universities and online education, including continuing education from prison, has been sent to the government for approval, Jamshid Sultanov, deputy head of the Interior Ministry’s Main Department for Execution of Punishments, a press conference”.

In addition, the following political benefits for prisoners can be mentioned as another major reform: “In recent years, Uzbekistan has reformed its penitentiary system to allow prisoners convicted of minor offenses to vote in elections, receive pensions and social insurance payments”.

The activities of penal institutions in Uzbekistan will be gradually digitized. The presidential decree “On Measures to Bring the Activities of Internal Affairs Bodies to a Qualitatively New Level in Ensuring Public Security and Combating Crime” says this”.

The “roadmap”  approved by the decree, prescribes the development of relevant government bills until May 10, 2021. According to the roadmap, it is planned to digitize the activities of institutions with the introduction of information technologies to ensure “electronic control” of prisoners.


  • introduction of the procedure of passing the service with a personal video recorder (body camera);
  • installation of a system of smart cameras (“Smart”) in institutions with the possibility of monitoring and independent control in order to detect cases of violation of the order of serving the sentence by prisoners;

The reforms shown in this “Roadmap” can only have one-sided significance in the digitization of prisons. That is, such reforms as the installation of body-worn cameras in prisons and the introduction of electronic monitoring systems can only be useful for prison administrations. After all, the electronic form of monitoring prisoners is much simpler and more effective. However, there is another side to the issue: prisoners’ rights. I mean, everyone has rights such as education, information, equality and non-discrimination, which are defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This is why allowing prisoners in Uzbek prisons the right to use the Internet and social media, albeit in a controlled and secure manner, can lead to a positive outcome. Prisoners can obtain different types of information and knowledge through the Internet or develop morals by reading e-books. However, some policymakers believe that giving prisoners access to technology in prisons will lead to a new wave of cybercrime. “For example, giving inmates access to the Internet or social media can lead to security or communication disruptions with the outside world, which can jeopardize the security of the prison and the community. To address these issues, prisons can implement digital technologies specifically designed for a secure and controlled environments”. In this regard, Uzbekistan should undertake reforms after a comprehensive study of international experience.

An effective result can be achieved by introducing this Singapore method in prisons in Uzbekistan. At the same time, it will be useful for the behavior and rehabilitation of prisoners.

However, the introduction of technology in prisons may cause other problems for the country. It could be – technological capability. “The readiness of organizations to anticipate technological changes depends on the availability and accessibility of these technologies. This dimension includes many dimensions such as material resources, access to funds to acquire and implement technologies, and the knowledge and skills to understand, build, and maintain technological efficacy”.

Here is my proposal to overcome this situation:

It is necessary to allocate more funds from the state budget to create technical capabilities of prisons. Because without sufficient funds, it is impossible to achieve the goal in this area. Secondly, the creation of a specially protected program with staff with advanced cybersecurity knowledge, as well as systematic control over the safety of information, knowledge and these programs delivered to prisoners through these digital technologies.


In conclusion, we have studied the world experience and proposed a solution to the problem. In order to digitize prisons and eliminate the problems in the system, our country should use more of the world experience, ratify international conventions and laws related to prisoners’ rights and implement them in practice, and adapt the system to world standards. In addition, the government’s drafting of laws and regulations is useless if practices are not changed and processes of implementation and enforcement are not ensured. Therefore, before international methods of prison digitalization can be implemented, the logistics of prisons must be provided with sufficient technology by the state, and every opportunity must be created for this.

Cite as:  Mavjuda Ostanaboyeva, “Does the digitization of prisons in Uzbekistan meet the requirements?”, Uzbekistan Law Blog, 15.12.2023.