Ex-convict creates website to help prisoners and their families to adapt to prison life
Convicted criminals who are sent to prison have to face a world with its own rules of behaviour which is why Jorge de la Hidalga has set up a webpage called Infoprision, aimed at providing information and support to new inmates and their relatives. De la Hidalga is well qualified in this area as he is himself an ex-convict who spent time inside after falling on hard times and getting involved in some dubious business deals. He studied a History degree while in prison and is the author of some books among them Vis à vis, which is due to be published shortly. He now works for a foundation in Madrid aimed at combating digital breaches.
De la Hidalga says that he is interested in helping those inside and their families and believes that he has the necessary knowledge and experience to do this. He spent several years in various Spanish prisons and now wants to use his experiences to help others who find themselves in a similar situation.
Before embarking on the project to create Infoprision, he did a quick search of the internet to see if he could find anything on prisons and life inside but all he found was the testaments of ex-convicts who had not recognised their errors and who were trying to vindicate themselves. He says that he recognises that he committed a mistake and paid the price for it. He also recognises that inmates find themselves in a helpless situation and are often forgotten by their lawyers once they are in prison. Moreover, he says that many criminal lawyers are not very knowledgeable in the rights of prisoners.
De la Hidalga is conscious of the fact that a webpage is not very accessible for inmates which is why the page is directed at the relatives of inmates. He says that Spanish prisons have improved a lot and that there are some prison officers who respect the rights of inmates but that inmates still face difficulties on a daily basis.
He says that Infoprision is a type of ‘hotel guide’ in that it is intended to help those who find themselves in prison for the first time deal with the situation better so that they are not completely uninformed.
The website contains different categories on new inmates, reoffenders etc. There is also a section for relatives of inmates which includes forms for them to print off (complaint forms, application forms for conditional release…etc) intended for inmates.
One of the future projects for the site is to open a section on blogs written by inmates so that they can share their experiences and opinions and publish photos. There is also a dictionary of slang used in prisons and recommendations on which lawyers to use.