The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections, a state agency based in Baton Rouge, manages nine state correctional facilities that house 19,000 adult prisoners. Prisons managed by the department include the Louisiana State Penitentiary, the state’s only maximum security institution. The penitentiary and other correctional facilities provide educational and vocational programs through which inmates can earn degrees and gain job training. Statistics show that inmates’ chances of finding full-time employment are greatly enhanced if they complete an education in prison, and a 2005 research review found that, on average, re-incarceration rates for participants in prison education programs were 46 percent lower than for nonparticipants.
- Historically, inmates at correctional facilities were not allowed access to computers with Internet access for fear that access would allow them to harass victims or plan crimes. Technical complexities and a lack of local resources made it nearly impossible to provide online learning in prisons.
- The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections wanted to improve inmate education, and post-prison outcomes, by implementing a new IT environment to support a better and more reliable online learning solution. It also needed to ensure system security so inmates had no access to the Internet.
- It sought to replace the on-premises system that hosted the learning solution due to frequent technical problems that often led to downtime. The agency also wanted to eliminate the need for its small IT team to manage the solution or spend time keeping outdated technology up and running.
- It sought an easier way to update training content and cost-effectively expand the program to additional correctional facilities.
- The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections worked with ATLO Software, a provider of secure educational solutions for correctional facility students, to deploy educational training labs at four Louisiana correctional facilities.
- Each lab consists of 10 workstations running Amazon WorkSpaces, a managed, secure desktop computing service that runs in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud. The lab configuration uses a multilayered security approach, combining Amazon WorkSpaces with a secure network within an Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC).
- Using Amazon WorkSpaces along with ATLO educational software, the department can quickly get a new training lab up and running, making it cost-effective and simple to expand the program to additional facilities. Inmates use Amazon WorkSpaces to access a personal ATLO account, which tracks their coursework and test results. The solution is locked down so inmates can only access their ATLO account and not the public Internet.
- Enables better inmate outcomes. Using the onsite labs, inmates can pursue college credits or degrees, receive vocational training, and learn about career opportunities available to them once they are released from prison. “Rehabilitation through education is now a reality thanks to ATLO and Amazon WorkSpaces,” says Dawson Andrews, IT director of Louisiana Department of Corrections. “There is less chance of these inmates recycling back into the system. This is not only a benefit to the inmates themselves, it is a benefit to their community and future generations.” The solution has also made it possible for the department to partner with local companies to create job opportunities.
- Better security. With the integration of Amazon WorkSpaces, ATLO software, and Amazon VPC, the department of corrections can confidently offer a secure learning program and prevent inmate access to locations outside the learning environment. The AWS security model makes it possible for the department to offer a connected solution—essential for delivering updated, relevant courseware and tracking progress.
- Ensures high availability. By enabling a more reliable environment for the web-based learning system, the department can help inmates concentrate on their education instead of worrying why software and systems aren’t working.
- Speeds deployment. The department’s IT team can get new connected training labs up and running in as little as 90 minutes. This results in three major benefits: It’s easy to roll out training labs in new facilities, to keep content up to date, and to add new content at any time.
- Reduces the need for IT staff. The department’s IT staff no longer needs to spend time managing servers and manually deploying software updates. Now, software updates can be pushed to any lab or workstation by restarting the zero clients.
To learn more about how AWS can help you manage your virtual desktop solution, visit our Amazon WorkSpaces details page.