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Technology in Corrections: Digital Transformation

For the 3th time Europris and ICPA will organise a conference dedicated to the use of technology in corrections with the theme: Digital Transformation.

Today many government organisations have started their digital transformation journey with the ambition to develop citizen-centric digital services. The bad news however is that many of them are still struggling with slow or partial progress in digitising their internal processes which makes it sometimes difficult to respond to user-expectations.

For corrections, this digital transformation path is laden with even more obstacles and frustrations, mainly inherited by the specific relation the government has with people that have been sentenced. Although recent reports on prison reform emphasis the increasing role technology is playing in criminal justice and prison systems, introducing new technologies in corrections is still a balancing act: both prison and probation services are challenged to increase efficiency (do better or different with less), focus much more on rehabilitation whilst keeping society safe.

This context makes it very challenging for both the governmental agencies, who are struggling with the development of their digital strategies, incorporating them into business plans and hunt for the necessary resources, and technology companies, who are trying to understand the business drivers, develop innovative solutions, keeping up with new technologies and struggling with the long, expensive and complicated public tender processes.

To motivate why they spend tax-payers money, governments need evidence that using technology improves the way they operate and supports their mission and vision. The enormous speed by which technology is involving doesn’t make it easy for researchers and correctional experts to keep up, evaluate, analyse and develop evidence-based practices. This takes time and can only be achieved by intensive collaboration between different actors and different disciplines.

To help them face this challenging situation we are convinced corrections should be more encouraged to look over the wall and learn from other sectors, other disciplines, other countries and regions. This bi-annual conference is a unique opportunity to do this by bringing correctional practitioners, technology providers and academics together. I am proud that I could help shaping this event and look forward to attend it and see you there!

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