Hopkins Correctional Centre disciplines several prisoners for hacking interactive TV screens for sexual gratification

Hopkins Correctional Centre, outside Ararat, where a number of prisoners allegedly used prison-supplied electronic learning tools to manufacture pornography.

Hopkins Correctional Centre, outside Ararat, where a number of prisoners allegedly used prison-supplied electronic learning tools to manufacture pornography.

HOPKINS Correctional Centre at Ararat has taken disciplinary action against several prisoners after they re-purposed interactive TV screens in their cells for sexual gratification.

The prison contains single and multi-person cells with the screens, which can display TV broadcasts, activity schedules and learning material from TAFE courses.

Fairfax Media understands that several prisoners, some of whom had been convicted of sex offences, were able to ‘hack into’ the devices and unlock a screenshot function.

The prisoners then captured images of free-to-air TV broadcasts for their own personal gratification.

One of the prisoners was also suspected to have further manipulated the captured images to manufacture what could be considered child pornography.

A Corrections Victoria spokesman could not confirm if the case of the prisoner with suspected child pornography had been referred to Victoria Police.

The prisoners involved in the rule breaches have been moved to different areas in the facility and placed under greater supervision.

The interactive TV screens were installed in the facility about three years ago when Ararat Prison was undergoing a major upgrade to incorporate Hopkins Correctional Centre.

There are no interactive screens in Corella Place – the specialist housing area outside the prison’s walls for sex offenders who have completed their sentences but have been assessed as posing too great a risk to society for release.

Corrections Victoria was unaware of the TV screens’ screenshot function when they were first ordered and installed.

A Corrections Victoria spokesman said the breaches had been detected in March.

“Hopkins Correctional Centre staff detected in March that a small number of prisoners had worked out a way to save screenshots from free-to-air television, and disabled this function,” he said.

“Corrections Victoria will continue to closely monitor prisoners’ use of the system.

“As with all Victorian prisons, Hopkins Correctional Centre prisoners do not have access to the internet.”

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