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The capacity and capability of digital innovation in prisons: towards smart prisons

Our latest, co-authered publication with Dr. Victoria Knight on digital innovation in prisons has been published in Advancing Corrections Journal.

In this article we explore the process of innovation in the context of prisons and more specifically the use and availability of digital technologies. Digital technologies attract the innovation label meaning they are heralded as a new frontier. This is especially resonant in the landscape of prisons, as traditionally and typically prisons are sites of deprivation, control and surveillance.

We reflect on the capacity and capability of prison services to transform these organisations using digital technology. We also question why digital technologies are viewed as innovative given that they are embedded and accepted features of everyday life as everyday life has moved from being online to onlife.

Typically, our prisons are not yet digitized spaces especially in stark contrast to the outside community. We reflect on the concept of ‘smart’ technologies and dedicated spaces and networks commonly termed as Smart Cities. We speculate about the value of this phenemona in the context of the prison and how this could evolve towards Smart Prisons.

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