Using 3D Worlds in Prison: Driving, Learning and Escape

Helen Sara Farley


Affordable hardware and increased processing power have resulted in a surge in the number and adoption of virtual reality applications and immersive virtual environments. These applications are able to immerse the user in an environment other than that of their immediate geographical location. The one population that is unable to move even within their own geographical location are prisoners. Prisoners are secluded away from the general population, unable to travel, attend education beyond the prison walls or interact with a wide variety of people. At least to a certain extent, these constraints are able to be overcome with the use of virtual reality and immersive virtual environments.

This paper briefly examines the constraints experienced by prisoners and the technical limitations of the prison environment. It explores the very few cases where these technologies are already used within the prison setting. A number of potential uses for virtual reality within prisons are proposed, including the justification for these approaches and a description of how these technologies are being used outside of the prison setting.


virtual reality; immersive virtual environments; educational technology; role-play; prison education: offender educational; vocational education

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