The Technology Solutions Group: Digital Transformation of Corrections.

ICPA encourages the use of technology, based on available research, to assist with the management in custody and in the community of offenders and to support their education and skill development. People and organisations are impacted on the way technology today is changing our lives on a daily basis. The use of technology changes the way people live and interact. The use of technology can enhance the quality of life for both staff and offenders if it is integrated in a broader vision and strategy on how corrections should involve. Technology can also enhance safety and security in prisons and contribute to better public safety. Effective use of technology can also further improve collaboration and co-ordination within the criminal justice system.

The Technology Solutions Group promotes the intelligent adoption of technologies in corrections. For the upcoming years this expert group will focus on 3 areas:

By bringing people together around this topic we want to inspire and support the development of innovative thoughts and technology solutions. During the second Global Corrections Digital Technology Conference, ‘Technology in Corrections: Challenges for the Future’, which will this time be organised by the International Corrections and Prisons Association (ICPA) in cooperation with the European Organisation of Prison and Correctional Services (EuroPris) and the Confederation of European Probation (CEP) and hosted by the Czech Prison and Probation Services, we will challenge the private sector to develop innovative digital solutions for use in corrections to address issues facing prisons and probation today. More information on this event can be found on http://www.corrections-technology.com.

The usage and implementation of advanced technology solutions should be based on research. Research is needed to analyse the impact technology has or could have on the lives of the offenders in prisons and communities and how a balance can be found between offender control and self-responsibility, between the need for human interaction and the usage of surveillance and security technology. In collaboration with the ICPA Research and Development Expert Group, the Technology Solutions Group will connect researches from all over world together to share their findings and research initiatives and promote collaboration in this field.

ICPA recognizes that countries have different abilities to source and use technology. In 2016 ICPA conducted a survey in collaboration with EuroPris on the Technological Disparity Across Prison Services. This survey gives an unique insight in the status quo of prison and correctional services around the globe (36 prison services in 33 different countries) on the topic of technology in general and offender information management systems more specifically. The authors Toon Molleman and Rianne van Os describe the general characteristics of the prisoner information systems that they surveyed, the need that jurisdictions felt to change these systems, the ways in which services use prisoner information, and what they plan to do with technology in the near future. Furthermore, they report on the problems services face with their information management technology. As they received responses from every continent on the globe, we also look for differences between continents and different stages of development. In the upcoming year, the ICPA Technology Solutions Group will take initiatives to help developing countries with their technological developments in corrections by sharing expertise, strategic and practical information and existing open-source solutions.

Author: Steven Van De Steene, ICPA Technology Solutions Group