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VR Brings Real-World Experiences to Prison Inmates

Correctional education firm GTL aims to rehabilitate prisoners using VR technology.

It’s been reported before that virtual reality (VR) can help with a variety of situations, such as training new pilots, teaching children about the science of the solar system, or helping people overcome addictions, so it follows that the same technology could also help with the rehabilitation of prisoners.

GTL, a company that provides educational technology for rehabilitating inmates has announced that is has built a system that can assist inmates in preparing to re-enter society. The proprietary system was developed internally at GTL and consists of a stand-alone VR headset along with a learning management system and educational content designed specifically for inmates in prisons.

“I believe the most important use for this technology is simulating difficult situations for inmates that they must work through on their own, while still having a safety net,” said Dr. Turner Nashe, GTL Senior Vice President of Educational Services. “An inmate with anger issues could be placed in a situation where they must deal with that emotion. There would still be controls to manage the situation if the inmate’s anger gets out of control. They can also continually work through their issues until they are able to control their reactions.”

The company also plans to turn the technology to other uses, such as:

  • Provide educational content in an immersive, engaging way
  • Help inmates in solitary confinement feel less isolated
  • Help inmates control phobias or conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Teach vocational skills such as plumbing and carpentry
  • Virtually travel to different places around the world
  • Simulate real-life scenarios (such as a family dispute) in a safe environment
  • Combat boredom and promote a safer facility environment by offering games and other entertainment options

Dr. Nashe and his colleagues are keen to explore the technology further: “The possibilities are exciting,” said Dr. Nashe. “Virtual reality provides the ability to positively influence an inmate before re-entry. It’s a great way to better help inmates reintegrate in society.”

VRFocus will continue to bring you news of new developments in the world of VR technology.

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