Prisoners are being allowed to use laptops to order meals from their cells, a report has revealed. Inmates at HMP Wayland, near Thetford, Norfolk, have also been given in-cell telephones to stay in touch with relatives in the evenings, said the inspection report by HM Inspectorate of Prisons.
The prisons watchdog detailed how the category C jail, holding nearly 1,000 men including over 100 serving life sentences, is taking part in a "digitalisation project" to help prepare inmates for release.
The report said prisoners were "positive" about the introduction of "in-cell net books", which allowed then to select meals and order from the prison shop, without permitting access to the internet.
It added: "Prisoners whose net book was removed for poor behaviour or who chose not to have one could access the same services using kiosks in communal wing areas.
"Access to in-cell telephones and secure laptops that eased access to administrative systems was, in our view, the way forward and an example of good practice."
Since its last inspection of the prison in 2013, telephones had been installed into all cells, the watchdog said. It added that the prison is also planning the limited introduction "video calling" to friends and family later this year.
Prison governor, Paul Cawkwell, was injured when he was attacked by an inmate in July 2016, however, the watchdog described plans for improvement at the jail as "active and substantive".
Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke said: "The prison was very well led, while plans for improvement were active and substantive, taking the prison forward in a positive direction. Our report provides a number of recommendations which we hope will assist that process."
However, in common with most prisons, HMP Wayland continues to battle a tide of contraband flooding into into the jail. It said so far in the first six months of this year the jail's seized haul includes over a kilo of drugs, 177 mobile phones and almost 500 litres of alcohol, most of which was illicitly brewed inside the premises.